$4 million upgrade to Kelowna’s courthouse

Kelowna’s courthouse has just had a $4-million upgrade to accommodate trials for increasingly worse criminals.

Kelowna’s courthouse has just had a $4-million upgrade to accommodate trials for increasingly worse criminals.

The changes appear to be all in and around Courtroom 1, which is the space used for larger criminal cases. It has been completely refurbished and brought up to contemporary standards, which includes everything from a new entry checkpoint to a glass barricade between the gallery and the trial participants.

Courtrooms are open to the public, so what’s changed is clear to see, but the Ministry of Justice declined a request to detail what the upgrades will amount to in terms of increased safety.

“While we don’t publicly disclose detailed information around security planning, we are making investments to accommodate a broader range of criminal matters,” said a Ministry of Justice representative.

“Courthouse security is the responsibility of B.C. Sheriff Services, which routinely evaluates the threat level associated with court appearances and strategically deploys resources to meet the security need.

B.C. Sheriff Services conducted a security assessment and determined that a security upgrade would allow the courthouse to accommodate a broader range of criminal matters.”

At the far end of the “range of criminal matters” is a trial starting in November.

Jujhar Khun-Khun, Jason Thomas McBride and Michael Hunter Jones, have all been charged with murder and attempted murder for a daylight shooting outside the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna in August 2011, that left Red Scorpion member Jonathan Bacon dead and his companions injured.

That trial is expected to begin on Nov. 7, 2016. It was originally scheduled for April 4, 2016, but was pushed back to allow for pre-trial matters.

The improvement costs of $4 million covered operating equipment and furnishings.

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