Judge declines extra security after home of witness’ parents shot at

A judge on Thursday declined to order extra security measures at the trial of six men accused of kidnapping and involvement in two fatal shootings, after the home of the kidnap victim’s parents was shot at early Wednesday.

On Wednesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman was advised of the shooting incident linked to the key Crown witness, who had begun his testimony at the Vancouver trial on Monday.

The Crown requested that consideration be given to having the sheriffs outside the courtroom conduct a mandatory check of the identification of persons wishing to enter the premises. Normally, members of the public are allowed to attend proceedings without having to identify themselves.

The witness, who cannot be identified due to an interim publication ban, told the court that he was OK to continue with his testimony, but the judge adjourned the proceedings for the day to consider the Crown’s request.

“I’m conscious of the need to balance varying concerns,” the judge said at the outset of the proceedings Thursday. “One is courtroom security, the other is the public access to the courtrooms which is necessary for us to maintain.”

The judge said he had discussed the issue with Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes and several senior sheriffs and had asked the sheriffs if they felt the identification requirement would improve security.

He said that he was told by the sheriffs that any improvement to security would be minimal and they were confident with the measures already in place.

“I am satisfied that it’s not necessary to apply mandatory requests of identification by the sheriffs. I am not ordering that that be done.

“As usual, the sheriffs have full control and discretion over what happens outside and who gets in. In any circumstances where they think it’s necessary to ask for identification, they of course may exercise their judgment …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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