Physical distancing protocols expose shortcomings at Penticton courthouse | Penticton News | iNFOnews

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Physical distancing protocols expose shortcomings at Penticton courthouse

September 18, 2020 - 12:30 PM

The courthouse in Penticton is having trouble handling crowds in the public gallery thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The sentencing hearing for Kiera Bourque, who entered a guilty plea on a charge of manslaughter in the death of Devon Blackmore last January, was scheduled for Penticton Supreme court today, Sept. 18, but COVID-19 protocols resulted in some unusual courtroom configurations for those who wanted to watch the proceedings.

“It’s not business as usual in the court system,” Judge Gary Weatherill told the court.

Weatherill said due to social distancing protocols “facilities are limited in the Penticton courthouse, which are limited at the best of times.”

He said more people showed up for the gallery than was predicted, and could not be accommodated safely.

Weatherill said it had been decided in a pre-sentencing conference last week that the families of the victim and accused would be accommodated in different courtrooms.

Reporters were told to dial into a conference call to hear today’s proceedings.

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