The high-profile Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial will go ahead despite an application by the accused parties to drop the charges.
After a multi-day hearing last week, Ontario-based Sofina Foods, Elite Farm Services Ltd., and Elite’s Dwayne Paul Dueck, were back in court Monday in front of BC Supreme Court Justice Thomas Crabtree.
Lawyers for the defence had asked Justic Crabtree to issue a stay of proceedings for reasons that cannot be reported due to a publication ban.
That application was denied, and the parties were back in court starting Nov. 16 for a series of voir dire hearings in advance of the jury trial in 2021.
The three defendants originally faced 38 counts under the Health of Animal Regulations, after undercover video was filmed in 2017 by California-based animal rights activist group Mercy For Animals (MFA).
The video showed employees ripping live birds apart, stomping and throwing chickens.
The undercover videos were recorded by an MFA activist who got employed as a chicken catcher by Elite Farm Services. Incidents on the file make allegations of abuse at farms in Langley, Abbotsford, Lindell Beach, Aldergrove, Chilliwack and Surrey.
Jury selection for the trial is slated for Jan. 21 and 23, 2021.
Because of current pandemic protocols that include a limited number of people in any room at the Chilliwack Law Courts, a jury trial is impossible to facilitate in either BC Supreme Court room. Justice Crabtree informed the parties that the likely location for the trial will be Evergreen Hall.
The Chilliwack Cultural Centre, which was where a jury trial was held this summer, is no longer available.
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