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Pender Island's case of the missing jury

Mar 17 2012

A man accused of stealing a fire truck from Pender Island was let off after someone forgot to call a jury to his three-day trial. Charges against him have been stayed.

The man was accused of breaking into the fire hall on March 14, 2010, taking the rescue vehicle belonging to Pender Island Fire Rescue and driving to the ferry.

He was recognized in the emergency vehicle — equipped with warning lights and painted with the Pender Island Fire Rescue crest — first by a B.C. Ferries employee, then by a volunteer firefighter in the car ahead of him in the ferry lineup.

The fire chief and a police officer arrived and got the fire truck back without difficulty.

The man allegedly told authorities he had to get off the island because his life was in danger.

After charges were sworn, the accused elected to be tried by judge and jury in B.C. Supreme Court. On Dec. 9, at the end of a three-day judge-only trial, the accused asked where his jury was.

The court realized a mistake had been made and a mistrial was declared. A new trial before judge and jury was to begin May 7, but the Crown stayed the charges.

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