Driver charged with second-degree murder in fatal Shuswap crash won't be held in custody

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

KAMLOOPS - A Shuswap man charged with second-degree murder in a fatal motor vehicle accident last year will not be held behind bars while awaiting trial.

Raymond Edward Swann, 56, appeared in Kamloops Supreme court today, Feb. 17 in front of a packed court gallery.

Many people there included friends and family of the man who died in the crash, 60-year-old Brian Watson. For most of them, it was their first time seeing Swann in person.

Oddly, the second-degree murder charge was laid earlier this week, months after the crash happened. Swann was originally charged with criminal negligence causing death or bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident. Police have not said why there was a delay in filing the new charge, or what information formed the basis of a murder charge.

Details of the bail hearing cannot be published due to a court-ordered publication ban.

Supreme Court judge Sheri Donegan granted Swann's release on the new charge but imposed several conditions, including a curfew, not consuming drugs, not possessing weapons and not occupying the driver's seat of a vehicle.

Crown and defence counsel also agreed that a Roger's Order should be imposed. This means Swann must take steps to ensure his mental health is in a good place, take any medications recommended by a physician and continue seeing a psychiatrist.

Swann must also post $10,000 cash bail.

Swann has been out of custody since the day after the Magna Bay crash, which happened April 3, 2016. Details of the crash have not been made public.

RCMP originally said that Watson's motorcycle was struck from behind by a truck while both vehicles were travelling toward Chase on the Squilax Angelmont highway. Swann is accused of fleeing the scene after the crash and police say he later called officers from his home in Sorrento.

Swann was arrested and released on bail on April 4, 2016.

An arraignment hearing on the original two charges was adjourned in Kamloops Provincial Court yesterday, Feb. 16 until next month and the second-degree murder charge was laid on Feb. 15.

At Swann's next scheduled appearance, lawyers are expected to schedule a date for a preliminary inquiry. The charges of criminal negligence and leaving the scene are still outstanding.

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