Kelowna man's murder trial edges closer

The Kelowna man accused of killing Brittney Irving during a 2010 drug deal gone awry briefly appeared in court Tuesday morning.

Joelon Verma — a diminutive man with a high stack of spiky hair— appeared in court for what was expected to be the first day of a week-long preliminary hearing.

Instead, the 30-year-old was told his case would be put on pause until month's end.

The holdup stemmed from the fact Crown Counsel Iain Currie applied for a direct indictment, which circumvents the process where evidence and witnesses are evaluated, prior to the actual trial.

It's a request that the Attorney General has to sign off on, and can only be used if one of 14 standards are met.

Among the list of causes to go forward with a direct indictment are concerns there may be risks to witnesses, there aren't enough witnesses or there's a need to protect an ongoing investigation.

Currie did not say why he was applying to take the less common path forward.

Verma was arrested and charged with murder and robbery in June 2010, for his connection to the death of Irving, months earlier.

After her body was found, police said she had a large quantity of marijuana and was  scheduled to meet with Verma.

The exact cause of death and the location her body were never revealed.

Verma has yet to have a bail hearing although, even in custody, he's barred from making contact with nine individuals.

He'll return to court Jan. 30, via video-link, from the Port Coquitlam Pretrial Centre that's currently his home to set a date for a trial.

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