A woman charged in connection with the death of a Maple Ridge teen is seeking to change the way she is tried, three weeks before proceedings were set to begin in Port Coquitlam Provincial Court.
Victoria Turley filed a re-election application Wednesday, asking to be tried in front of a Supreme Court justice, instead of a provincial court judge.
Turley faces one count of failure to provide the necessities of life in connection with the death of Shannon Raymond – a charge laid under a rarely used section of the Canadian Criminal Code.
Raymond, 16, was found dead at 6 a.m. on July 26, 2008 after she attended a party at Turley’s home in Maple Ridge.
Ridge Meadows RCMP will not say how Raymond died, but allege she was in the care of the accused and was in medical distress, which Turley failed to address.
Turley, who no longer lives in Maple Ridge, was arrested and charged in October 2009 after an investigation that took more than a year.
Her trial was set for Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Day.
“It is a clear example of stall tactics that she has used since the very beginning,” said Shannon’s mother, Julie Upton-Raymond, who was upset by the application.
“We now have to sit in further silence until our day in court, when we can tell people what happened to my daughter. It is just so unfair.”
Upton-Raymond and Shannon’s older sister, Danielle, had taken time off for the trial and have family who have already made plans to travel to B.C., anticipating the trial was set to begin in three weeks.
“I just cannot believe this,” she added.
Turley, however, has the right to change her mind under provisions for indictable offences under the criminal code.
“They have until 14 days before the date that has been scheduled for the trial to re-elect another mode of trial,” explained Neil McKenzie, a spokesperson for provincial Crown counsel.
If the re-election application is filed less than 14 days before a trial, the accused requires written consent of Crown.
Since Turley is asking to be tried in Supreme Court, it may trigger a preliminary hearing in provincial court, which will draw out proceedings for much longer.
Turley’s lawyer, David Milburn, was not available for comment.