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UPDATE: Alleged Vernon arsonist pleads not guilty to three counts of child porn

William Munton
Image Credit: Facebook
September 25, 2017 - 1:05 PM

VERNON - A Vernon man and former high school teacher pleaded not guilty to three counts of possession of child pornography today.

William Murray Phelps Munton, 55, is charged with two counts of making or publishing child pornography in 2011 and 2015, and one count of possession of child pornography between 2011 and 2016. The charges came to light following an extensive arson investigation into dozens of fires set in 2014.

Munton, who previously taught at Salmon Arm Secondary School but was fired with cause in 2005, began his trial in Vernon Supreme Court today, Sept. 25 before Justice Hope Hyslop.

Munton’s lawyer, Julian van der Walle, made a charter application today, arguing the search warrants obtained by police were not valid. The warrants ultimately led police to a computer, a CD, and a cell phone containing images the Crown alleges are child pornography.

In a voir dire — a trial within a trial to determine if evidence is admissible — lawyers pored over the information to obtain the search warrants.

Munton sat in the accused box, dressed casually and showing little expression. He is out on bail. 

Only one witness was called during the voir dire — the police officer who applied for the warrants. Lawyers expect to wrap up arguments on the voir dire this afternoon and Justice Hyslop is expected to deliver a decision Wednesday morning.

Crown prosecutor Jeremy Guild said that as long as some of the evidence is ruled admissible, the trial will continue as scheduled. He said no other witnesses will be called, and the case will centre on whether the images found in Munton’s possession actually constitute child pornography.

— This story was updated at 12:53 p.m. Sept. 25, 2017 to add more details from the morning session of the trial and again at 11:07 a.m. Sept. 27, 2017 to remove information. 


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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