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

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Motorcyclist airlifted after collision in Cobble Hill

Residents describe intersection of Telegraph and Hutchinson as “dangerous” and “problematic”

Tent Island closed due to neglect and abuse from campers

Illegal campfires common on Penelakut Tribe reserve land

Denise Holt wins Cowichan Lake Idol 2020

Competition goes online this year due to COVID-19

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Canucks blank Wild 3-0, take series lead in penalty-filled NHL qualifying clash

Jacob Markstrom stops 27 shots to lead Vancouver past Minnesota

Most Read