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No mistrial in Pitt rave case

The rave took place in a barn on this property on Harris Road in Pitt Meadows Meadows. - The New/Files
The rave took place in a barn on this property on Harris Road in Pitt Meadows Meadows.
— image credit: The New/Files

A trial will resume in November for a young man accused of posting pornographic photographs taken during a rave in Pitt Meadows two years ago.

On Wednesday, provincial court Judge Shehni Dossa denied an application for a mistrial filed by lawyers for Dennis John Allen Warrington, finding the issues at hand can be remedied by recalling key witnesses.

Warrington faces one count each of possessing and distributing child porn.

"While the late use of new monitors in this case is problematic,... the Crown has yet to close their case and can easily recall witnesses," said Dossa.

Defence called for a mistrial earlier this month after Crown prosecutor Wendy van Tongeren Harvey asked the court to allow her to set up larger monitors.

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 the same, larger monitors when she filed a complaint with police.

Defence, however, noticed a marked difference in the quality of images the new monitors displayed and argued recalling witnesses at such a late stage in the trial would be "cumbersome." Lawyer Marvin Stern and his co-counsel believed they could see a tattoo on the man's back when the photos were viewed on the new monitors, a mark which was not visible before.

Crown contended that only relevant witnesses who were actually present while the photos were being taken would need to be recalled. They include Colton McMorris, who faced sexual assault charges following the rave, and the young man who took the photographs, whose name is protected by a publication ban because he was 17 at the time.

Dossa agreed.

"Defence has provided little arguments as to why recalling witnesses would be prejudicial," she said, citing case law where a mistrial must only be called if "irregularities" that arise during a trial cannot be corrected.

The sexual assault charge against McMorris was stayed in February after Crown found the available evidence was unlikely to land a conviction.

The teenage girl in the photographs was set to testify earlier this month, but her testimony was postponed after defence's call for a mistrial effectively brought court proceedings to a halt.

Outside court, the Crown prosecutor said the victim and her family have been extremely patient.

"I have noticed how courageous and patient they have been while going through this process, so it's important that we keep it moving," said van Tongeren Harvey, a special prosecutor brought in to deal with the fall out from the infamous rave.

"The victim is absolutely cooperative. And we will do what we can to maintain the dignity of the process."

The trial of Warrington is set to resume at the end of November.

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