Michael Bonin, 20, from Alberta, was discovered deceased on Peers Creek Forest Service Road north of Hope on April 20, 2017. (Black Press Media)

Kelowna trial for three men charged in Hope murder delayed 11 months

The trial for the alleged killers of Michael Bonin has been moved to May 2021, was supposed to begin this month

The trial for three men accused of the 2017 murder of Michael Bonin has been put over for another 11 months.

Initially slated to begin later this month, the murder trial for 28-year-old Ryan Watt, 22-year-old Joshua Fleurant and 29-year-old Jared Jorgenson has been moved to May 2021 due to scheduling issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fleurant, Watt and Jorgenson are alleged to have killed Bonin and left his body on Peers Creek Forest Service Road, north of Hope, B.C. His body was found in April 2017. Fleurant and Watt are both facing first-degree murder charges, however, Jorgenson’s charge was reduced to second-degree.

Both Watt and Fleurant remain in custody. Jorgensen was granted bail in June 2018.

Jury selection for the 12-week trial is now scheduled to begin on May 17, 2021 — more than 40 months after the three men were charged.

Usually, according to a Supreme Court of Canada decision, trials making their way through Supreme Court must see a conviction within 30 months of the date charges were laid. However, the anomalous COVID-19 pandemic is expected to qualify for an exception to that ruling, given the burden it has placed on courts at all levels.

READ MORE: Defence claims Surrey man was mentally unwell at time of West Kelowna murder

READ MORE: Social justice advocate yells at Kelowna council, demands presence at Black Lives Matter rally

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