Delay for closing arguments in Deborah Ashton perjury case

It will be June before closing submissions are heard in the case of a former Vernon teacher and administrator charged with perjury.

It will be three months before closing submissions are heard in the case of a former Vernon teacher and administrator charged with two counts of perjury.

Closing arguments in the matter against Deborah Louise Ashton will be heard in front of Justice Geoff Barrow in Vernon Supreme Court on either Monday, June 17, or Tuesday, June 18.

Ashton’s lawyer, G. Jack Harris, requested the adjournment after the lunch break Friday, and Crown lawyer Don Mann agreed with the submission as both lawyers said they would not have enough time Friday afternoon to give their final arguments. June is the earliest the two lawyers and judge can all be available.

Ashton is charged with two counts of perjury in connection with statements she made during her first trial in February on five counts of allegedly having a sexual relationship with a former students.

That trial resulted in a hung jury.

Ashton was then acquitted on all five counts in a second trial in March 2012, held in front of a Supreme Court Justice alone.

She was charged with perjury before the second trial, with Crown alleging that Ashton made false and misleading statements in regards to a bracelet she allegedly bought her accuser, who can’t be named because of a publication ban, and that she “always” picked up her son from daycare.

Ashton was the final witness in the four-day trial Friday, and she admitted to Harris that she had been “way off” in her answer from February 2011 that she always picked up her son from daycare.

It was proven when Ashton’s ex-husband, Mike Jellema, was on the stand Thursday that Jellema also shared in picking up his child from a Vernon daycare centre.

“The answer I gave (in 2011) was incorrect,” said Ashton. “Obviously I reviewed it. It was my recollection that I picked up the kids on such a consistent basis I felt confident enough to answer.”

Asked by Harris if she knew her answer in 2011 was false, Ashton replied “No sir,” and gave the same answer when asked if she had any intent to mislead the court with her response.”

Under cross examination, Mann wondered aloud how Ashton could have been so wrong in her estimate of how often she picked up her son from daycare.

“I should have taken more time and been more cautious in my answer,” said Ashton. “I regret it.”

Mann spent the better part of Friday morning quizzing Ashton over her inability to recall giving a bracelet to her accuser, but remembering giving him and his family gifts on other occasions.

Mann handed the unique-shaped box that housed the alleged bracelet in question to Ashton and asked if she had any memory of buying the bracelet from a Vernon jeweler.

“I don’t recall this box outside of this trial,” said Ashton.

“You don’t ever recall going into the jewelry store to buy this bracelet?” asked Mann.

“I may have gone into a jewelry store on Main Street in Vernon, of which there are several such stores, but I didn’t know the name. But I have no recollection of this bracelet.”

“You don’t remember giving the bracelet to the student?” asked Mann.

“I don’t recall that,” said Ashton.

Harris did not bring up the bracelet while his client was on the stand.