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Verma Trial: Accused killer's cousin admits he lied to police in Kelowna murder trial

Brittney Irving was setting up a 70 pound drug deal in the days before her murder. - Contributed
Brittney Irving was setting up a 70 pound drug deal in the days before her murder.
— image credit: Contributed

The cousin of accused killer Joelon Verma admits he lied to police when he was first questioned in their investigation into Brittney Irving’s disappearance.

Under cross examination, Jason Labonte agreed with defence lawyer Alexander Watt that he told police that he didn’t have contact with Verma after Verma left his Rutland home on April 6, 2010.

“And that was a lie?” asked Watt.

“Yes, sir,” said Labonte.

Labonte also told police on April 21, 2010 that he had never met Irving.

“And that was a lie,” said Watt.

“Yes, sir,” said Labonte.

Earlier, Labonte agreed he knew it was important to tell the truth to police.

“Yet you lied four times in the first statement to police,” said Watt, who earlier highlighted other examples of lying.

“Yes, I did.”

Labonte later revealed those details he initially withheld from police and testified earlier this week that he had met Irving before she was at his home with Verma that day.

The pair stowed bags and a box, believed to contain marijuana, in his garage before leaving separately.

Later that day, Labonte testified that he was contacted by Verma, asking for help getting out of the bush.

“Did you ask him how he got there?” asked Watt.

“No,” said Labonte.

You drove up the back roads to help him without asking a “single, solitary question?” asked Watt incredulously.

“He called for my help. He’s my cousin. I helped him,” said Labonte.

Labonte agreed that when he got to the spot off McCulloch Forest Service Road where Verma was waiting, it “didn’t look like he was stuck.”

Watt continued to question Labonte, asking why he didn’t give Verma grief for dragging him in the bush when there was no “evidence” of being stuck, with Labonte later saying, “I didn’t embarrass him by telling him he’d got stuck in a crappy Ford truck.”

Verma had been driving another man’s truck, the court has heard.

Watt also revisited earlier testimony by Labonte, suggesting Labonte had testified that “Mr. Verma was going to kill Ms. Irving for the Hells Angels.”

Labonte agreed.

Irving was last seen alive April 6, 2010, the day she was brokering a large marijuana deal. Her body was discovered on McCulloch Forest Service Road—not far from where Labonte said he pulled Verma out—on April 26. She had been shot four times.

Verma is currently on trial for first degree murder.

By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor

Week 3:

Accused killer told police he didn't know what happened to Kelowna's Irving, Sept. 23, 2013

Accused killer stuck in bush near Kelowna murder scene, Sept. 25, 2013

 

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