Court of Appeals. (File photo)

New trial ordered in Vanderhoof man’s ‘brutal’ murder in basement

B.C. Court of Appeal rules trial judge failed to give key information to jurors in the Fribjon Bjornson case

A new trial has been ordered for a Nak’azdli Whut’en man convicted of first-degree murder.

James David Junior Charlie was convicted by a jury in 2017 in the “brutal” death of Fribjon Bjornson five years earlier near Fort St. James.

Prosecutors had argued that Charlie had been one of four people to assault Bjornson in a basement over a “prolonged” period of time, had provided a cord used to strangle him, and had helped leave the body at nearby Stuart Lake.

He and another person were also alleged to have later moved the body to another location and committed indignities. Charlie had pleaded guilty to offering indignities to a dead body.

Charlie appealed the murder conviction, arguing the trial judge had erred in answering one of the jury’s questions on his intent at the time of the offence.

The B.C. Court of Appeal released a ruling on Thursday, saying it agreed, and ordered a new trial.

Bjornson’s mother, Eileen said she was “heartbroken” and “disgusted”.

“We have been through enough and don’t need to go through this again. The only ones with rights are the criminals. The victims and their families have none,” she said.

Eileen said the appeal was granted on a “technicality” which doesn’t make Charlie not guilty.

“We have to endure another trial and taxpayers have to foot the bill.”

“Why can’t he just take responsibility for his actions and stop hurting our family,” she added.

Correction: In the initial version of the story, Vanderhoof Omineca Express had alluded that James David Junior Charlie is from Vanderhoof. He in fact is from Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation. Vanderhoof Omineca Express regrets the error.


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

murder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Search on for mushroom picker missing from near Kitwanga

Tommy Dennis was last seen Sept 16 wearing blue jeans, black cap, rubber boots, grey checked sweater

Northwest firefighters headed to Oregon to battle wildfires

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Another Telkwa councillor calls it quits

Councillor Rick Fuerst is the second Telkwa council member to hang up his hat since the 2018 election

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read