Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

The ruling is contrary to a judgment handed down in August by another BC judge, but is in line with another recent ruling handed down by a judge in Ontario

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Citing concerns about the growing number of people infected with COVID-19 in BC, a judge ordered that potential jurors in a murder case in Vancouver be fully vaccinated to sit on the jury.

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The ruling by BC Supreme Court Justice James Williams, made before the jury’s election began, contradicts a ruling handed down in August by another BC judge, but is consistent with another recent ruling by a judge in Ontario.

In his ruling, published on the court’s website on Monday, Williams said the trial of Alvaro Julio Roche-Garcia, who has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Zenen Cepeda Silva, 69, came at a time when BC with a significant COVID pandemic.

“I am very concerned that the jury thing that we are embarking on should be carried out in a way that maximizes the safety of all participants, certainly also the members of society that we require in order to act as jurors. , “said the judge.

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“Serving on a jury involves being in close personal contact with a number of other persons, including other jurors.”

Williams’ decision was given orally on September 29, just before the October 2 jury election. The assassination attempt began Monday in the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver.

The judges of the BC have the task of making decisions on how best to conduct the proceedings before them, including questions concerning jury selection.

In August, Judge Geoffrey Gomery refused to order that potential jurors be vaccinated after finding out that interrogation of potential jurors entered a private and personal sphere.

But Williams, who said he had read this decision as well as other rulings on the issue, said the circumstances at present are not the same as when those decisions were made.

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“It is my view that the measure I intend to invoke here is necessary for the proper conduct of this trial.”

The jurors who appeared at the trial against Roche-Garcia on Monday wore masks and sat on a jury with plexiglass barriers separating them from other jurors.

In her opening remarks, Crown Attorney Emily Adams said the victim was sitting on the porch of her home in Fraser St. 6738 late in the evening of January 26, 2019, when he and his wife were contacted by a man who fired a shot at the victim, hit him in the pelvic area and cut an artery.

The victim’s wife screamed for help and got her granddaughter out of the house. Police were called, and despite efforts to revive him, the victim later died at the hospital.

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Adams told the jury that surveillance video of a vehicle parked behind a nearby restaurant would connect the defendant to the scene, and a used bullet recovered from the defendant’s home was matched with a bullet recovered from a door frame at the crime scene, which had been used in the fatal shooting.

As for the motive, she said the accused had been beaten by three men several weeks before the shooting and told another person that he thought he had been attacked by the victim’s friends. The trial continues Tuesday.

kfraser@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser


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