Wokeley to appear in person at next arraignment hearing after yet another delay

The provincial courthouse in Fort St. John. File photo

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The arraignment hearing for a man accused of murdering a Blueberry River First Nations woman nearly four years ago has once again been delayed because not all evidence compiled by investigators has been disclosed to his lawyer.

Leon Wokeley is accused of murdering Pamela Napoleon in the summer of 2014 before allegedly burning her body inside a cabin near Buick, and appeared once again via video link at the Fort St. John courthouse this afternoon. Napoleon’s body was discovered August 4th of that year, nearly a month after she was last seen with Wokeley on July 8th. He is facing charges of second degree murder, indecency to human remains, and arson in connection with Napoleon’s death.

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At today’s hearing, Wokeley’s lawyer Georges Rivard said that he has not received all disclosure of the Crown’s case against his client, and asked the judge to delay the arraignment hearing. Prosecutor Joseph Temple explained that the Crown is currently going through thousands of documents that have bene compiled by the RCMP during their more than three-year investigation, and that all of those documents are being reviewed before they are given to Rivard. Temple hinted that further delays could be likely after telling the judge that the Crown had just received more evidence from police.

Madame Justice Rita Bowry expressed visible frustration about the lack of disclosure, and asked Temple for an estimate about how much longer it would take for the Crown to provide disclosure. Temple said he was not able to provide an estimate off the top of head. Madame Justice Bowry did grant permission for the arraignment hearing to be pushed back until May 23rd at 2:00 p.m. in Fort St. John. Rivard said that unlike all other past four hearings except at his initial appearance, Wokeley would be appearing in person at the next hearing.

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