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New trial ordered on murder charge
A Penticton man who won an appeal on his first-degree murder conviction will have a second trial in 2012.
Corey Wolf Swite was previously found guilty of first-degree murder for smothering an 85-year-old woman at her Bel Air apartment on Fairview Road in August of 2006.
He was found guilty by a jury in Kelowna Supreme Court in March 2009, receiving life in prison with no parole for 25 years.
In February the B.C. Court of Appeal set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial. A hearing in Penticton court on Monday set the new trial date for Sept. 4, 2012 in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna.
The basis for the appeal did not engage in the facts of the murder, rather procedures by the trial judge. Counsel for Swite, Joseph Blazina, was appealing the manner in which the trial judge dealt with the application to challenge potential jurors for cause. Swite wanted jurors screened with questions to determine whether they could view the evidence without bias, prejudice or partiality because he is an Aboriginal person and the victim is an 85-year-old woman. Amendments made to the law around challenging jurors resulted in errors and confusion in the selection of the jury. The appeal court also agreed there was a potential for prejudice when one unsworn juror clearly stated her belief of Swite’s guilt in the presence of the other sworn jurors.
A publication ban was ordered by the appeal court that will not allow for the victim’s name to be revealed.