The trial for a former Vernon teacher facing multiple sex crime charges concluded today in Kelowna. However, a decision on his fate won’t be made for a least another month.
Anoop Singh Klair is charged with sexual assault with a weapon, three counts of sexual assault, and four counts of sexual interference said to have been committed in Vernon between late-1999 and 2003.
Assaults are said to have taken place in a bathroom, and bedroom, with victims under 14 years old. The identity of victims is protected under a publication ban.
An email provided to the Capital News contained the resignation of Klair from School District 22 in Vernon and a follow-up email from superintendent Joe Rogers, accepting the resignation and stating that the district is working with the RCMP on the matter.
On Friday, March 12, both Crown Council and defence for Klair, made submissions to Justice Murray Blok. Crown summarized witness statements from four individuals who came forward against Klair.
Crown spoke to the consistencies and merit of witness statements during their testimonies, stating they neither exaggerated nor added details. Some information from witnesses was faded with regards to peripheral details, such as the kind of clothing the accused was wearing at the time. However, statements regarding the actual assaults were consistent, according to Crown.
Crown stated none of the four victims had a motive to fabricate their claims.
After Crown’s submissions, Klair’s defence lawyer Nicholas Jacobs introduced an argument stating the trial took far too long to come to court.
Klair was originally charged in the fall of 2018.
Jacobs insisted Crown did not take reasonable steps to expedite the court process, referencing what he said were scheduled court dates, rescheduled and pushed back throughout 2020.
He continued to argue that Crown pursued new evidence “at the 11th hour” and “pushed a case that was teetering on the brink of unreasonable delay, over the edge.”
Crown countered that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in exceptional circumstances, causing delays across the board and that this was out of their control. As well, Crown argued an out-of-province witness who was not able to travel during the pandemic, further delayed the start of the trial, also outside of their control.
Blok accepted the submissions and put the trial over to March 22, when the court will fix a date for a decision, likely in April.
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