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Judge to rule on mistrial in Pitt rave case
A trial for a young man accused of posting to Facebook pornographic photographs taken during a rave in Pitt Meadows remains in limbo as a judge decides whether to bring proceedings to a halt.
Provincial court judge Shehni Dossa will rule on whether to declare a mistrial for Dennis John Allen Warrington on Oct. 24.
A lawyer for Warrington called for mistrial last week after Crown prosecutor Wendy van Tongeren Harvey asked the court to allow her to set up larger monitors.
Warrington faces one count each of possessing and distributing child porn.
The larger monitors, with better quality video cards, would be used to show the graphic photographs, which were taken during a party held at a farm on Harris Road, Sept. 10, 2010.
Crown believes the larger monitors will display the best image possible and help the alleged victim – who was 16 at the time – to identify herself in the photographs. She viewed the photographs on same, larger monitors when she filed a complaint with police.
A larger monitor was set up in court on Friday and Warrington’s lawyer Marvin Stern noticed a marked difference in the quality of images it displayed.
“We can see this very significant difference,” said Stern, as he argued for a judge to bring Warrington’s trial to an end.
Stern noted Crown made the application for new monitors on Day 8 of Warrington’s trial, after key witnesses had already testified.
He said recalling witnesses would be “extremely cumbersome” at this stage of the trial.
“You are dealing with a case that Parliament has dictated a mandatory minimum sentence,” said Stern, referring to changes to the Criminal Code that impose a minimum sentence of six months for possessing or distributing child pornography.
Crown, however, reminded the judge that a mistrial must only be considered as a last resort.
“The law says that a mistrial should be granted only in the clearest of cases … other remedies should be considered before,” said van Tongeren Harvey.
Outside court, van Tongeren Harvey was positive that the judge would rule in her favour.
“I’m optimistic,” she said.
Crown’s application has effectively stalled the trial for Warrington, who is the only adult still facing charges in connection with the rave.
Colton McMorris was charged with sexually assaulting the 16-year-old girl photographed at the rave, but the charge was stayed in February after Crown found the available evidence was unlikely to land a conviction.
The teenage girl has yet to testify at the trial. She was scheduled to take the stand last week, but her testimony has been delayed until the judge rules on a mistrial.