Charges dropped against one of three suspects charged in Vernon murder case

Jason Hardy, 42, was found dead in Polson Park Aug. 26, 2015.

VERNON - Charges have been dropped against one of the people accused in a Vernon murder case after a preliminary hearing.

Brandon Joseph Wellington, 19, was charged along with two others including a 15-year-old, but the Crown is no longer pursuing a conviction.

Crown spokesperson Dan McLaughlin says after reviewing the case at a preliminary inquiry and considering other evidence, lawyers concluded the charge assessment process could no longer be met.

“It was simply not strong enough to prosecute that case,” McLaughlin says.

The charge assessment process is a two-part test which includes determining whether the evidence supports a strong likelihood of a conviction, and if the prosecution is in the public interest.

Wellington and co-accused Tal Kalum La Riviere, 29, were scheduled for a joint preliminary inquiry recently in Vernon. That inquiry has now been put on hold, and is expected to resume solely for La Riviere in the future, McLaughlin says.

A 15-year-old youth is also charged with second degree murder. He cannot be identified because he is a minor.

The charges came in the summer of 2015 after the body of Jason Hardy was discovered in Polson Park. Police have not commented on his cause of death.

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