Kelowna Law Courts (File photo)

Kelowna Law Courts (File photo)

Several murder trials facing delays in Kelowna courts during pandemic

The alteration of court procedures amid the pandemic has caused the delay of several high-profile cases in the region

At least four murder trials making their way through Kelowna courts have had their dates pushed back during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the alteration of court procedures.

Tejwant Danjou, a Surrey man accused of killing his partner in West Kelowna in July 2018, had his second-degree murder trial abruptly postponed in early-March, just two weeks into the five-week proceedings.

When his trial began in February, Danjou entered an impromptu guilty plea before recanting it the next day. Danjou’s lawyer said he did not understand that a guilty plea to second-degree murder meant he must admit there was intent to kill.

He is set to appear in court for a pre-trial conference on May 20 but BC Prosecution Service communications counsel, Dan McLaughlin, told the Capital News the Crown is eyeing dates in early June for trial to resume.

READ MORE: Surrey couple had abusive relationship prior to woman’s West Kelowna murder

Recently, the trial for the man accused in a mass shooting that killed four people in Penticton last year was moved to Kelowna court.

On May 14, a judge accepted 69-year-old John Brittain’s proposal to move the trial, though the details discussed at the hearing are covered under a publication ban.

Brittain is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder related to the deaths of Susan and Barry Wonch, Rudi Winter and Darlene Knippelberg on April 15, 2019.

The matter has faced several delays while working its way through Penticton courts over the past year, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic which has put off setting the trial date twice over the past few months.

Brittain has elected to have a jury trial.

In March, Black Press Media reported that the trial for the accused Penticton shooter was anticipated to take four weeks.

The matter will be back in court on May 22 to schedule a date for trial.

READ MORE: Penticton quadruple murder trial moved to Kelowna

Kevin Costin was arrested May 26, 2017, and charged with second-degree murder, arson and indignity to human remains in the November 2015 death of his wife, 37-year-old Hazel Budiongan.

After an already lengthy wind through Kelowna courts, Costin’s trial was slated to begin with jury selection on April 14. McLaughlin said the Crown is exploring new dates for a trial.

Costin was released on bail in December 2019 but remains under house arrest.

A voir dire, a trial within a trial to determine the validity of evidence, has been scheduled for June 15, further delaying the jury trial.

READ MORE: Still no trial date set for West Kelowna man charged in wife’s 2015 death

Three men accused in the January 2018 death of Michael Bonin also had their trial pushed back.

Joshua Fleurant, Ryan Watt and Jared Jorgenson are alleged to have killed Bonin and left his body on Peers Creek Forest Service Road north of Hope. His body wasn’t found until nearly three months after his death, in April 2018.

Both Watt and Fleurant remain in custody. Jorgensen was granted bail in June 2018.

The trial was scheduled to begin in June but a new date will be fixed at the next court appearance on May 28.

READ MORE: Kelowna trial date set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Kelowna’s fatal 2018 Canada Day stabbing also continues to make its way through court.

Nathan Truant, 27, and Noah Vaten, 21, as well as two unnamed minors, are charged with manslaughter in the death of Esa Carriere.

Carriere was stabbed to death during Canada Day celebrations near the Queensway Transit Exchange in downtown Kelowna.

Vaten remains in custody. Truant and the two minors were released on bail.

The matter appeared on May 19 for a pretrial conference. A trial date should be scheduled at the next appearance on June 22.

READ MORE: Two charged in Kelowna Canada Day stabbing death back in court

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusmurder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Downtown Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
COVID slows in Revelstoke to 2 new cases

Data is from Jan. 17 to 23

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Beard Growing Contests were popular in Revelstoke as far back as the first Golden Spike Days Celebration in July of 1944. In this staged publicity photo, local barber Clarence Sheedy is seen with contestants Toby Belinski, two unknown men, Elio Pradolini, possibly Nelson Huckle, and Al McAskill. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 348)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Jan. 28

A look at local history as recorded by the newspaper

A moose and her calf attempting to cross the Jordan River June 22, 2020, as seen from the Jordan River trail. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Letter: One year later Jordan River area still at risk

A Revelstoke company is one year in to their two year temporary permit for exploration in the area

Kevin Dorrius, general manager at Community Futures Revelstoke, presents Revelstoke local Jane McNab with the Volunteer of the Year Award for Revelstoke. (Submitted)
Community Futures planning September conference

Final decisions will be made in July depending on the state of the pandemic and vaccinations

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Crown prosecutors have stayed attempted murder charges against Kelowna’s Jesse Pez. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Man accused in Kelowna Halloween stabbing has attempted murder charge stayed

The Crown only proceeds with charges when evidence provides ‘a substantial likelihood of conviction’

RCMP released this photo on Jan. 27, 2021 of Terrance Jones, 40, a Caucasian man with a closely shaved head, brown eyes, dirty blonde or brown hair, and a thin mustache and beard. The inside of his right arm is covered in tattoos, including one of a face. (Kamloops RCMP photo)
RCMP want public’s help to locate Shuswap man wanted on charge of attempted murder

Sicamous man was arrested previously on Jan. 11 for allegedly breaching conditions of release

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

Most Read