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Armstrong man's animal cruelty trial delayed, again

FILE PHOTO - Roughly 80 of Gary Roberts' horses were sold at a court-ordered auction in 2015. Another 16 were seized by the SPCA.
May 09, 2016 - 10:35 AM

VERNON - Unexpected circumstances have put the brakes on an Armstrong man’s animal cruelty trial for the second time.

Gary Roberts, 69, was due to begin a three day trial in Vernon Provincial Court today, May 9, but the case was delayed before it even started.

Court heard how the assigned Crown counsel in the matter, Alexandra Janse, suffered a broken leg and would not be able to make it to court. Appearing on her behalf, Crown lawyer Iain Currie requested an adjournment from Judge Mayland McKimm.

Defence lawyer Julian van der Walle noted Roberts hopes to resolve the matter soon and does not wish to delay the case any further, however he did not oppose the request for an adjournment given the circumstances.

Due to a preliminary inquiry scheduled at the same time in the same court room, it’s possible the trial would have been delayed regardless.

Roberts is charged with causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal, failing to provide necessities and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm after SPCA officers executed a warrant in December 2014 and seized a number of his horses.

This is the second time the trial has been delayed. In November 2015, the trial was put over due to a key witness for the Crown being unable to attend court during the scheduled dates.

Addressing Roberts, Judge McKimm said delays do happen.

“It seems to be happening to you more often than everyone else,” McKimm said.

Lawyers will meet later this week to set a new date for the trial.

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