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Direct to trial for North Okanagan murder case

Jevon Smith charged with second-degree murder of Dakota Samoleski in Spallumcheen shooting
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The suspect in a Spallumcheen murder is heading straight to trial.

Jevon Daniel Smith, born in 1975, is charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of Dakota Samoleski, who died in a shooting on Sept. 20, 2021.

“Crown is proceeding by Direct Indictment,” said Dan McLaughlin with the BC Prosecution Service. “There will be no preliminary inquiry and we will proceed to trial on Feb. 26, 2024.”

A preliminary inquiry was originally set for 2022 in Vernon to see if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. However, Smith appeared in Kamloops provincial court prior and requested that no preliminary inquiry be held.

Police were called to a Spallumcheen residence at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2021 to reports of a possible shooting and a vehicle fleeing the area. A search for the suspect’s vehicle led police to a body in the 4500 block of Back Enderby Road.

Smith was arrested in Armstrong later that day with help from the Southeast District Emergency Response Team.

Samoleski and Smith are believed to have been known to each other.

Direct indictments are generally appropriate when public interest factors are at play.

• victims and witnesses – where there is significant danger of harm, either psychological or physical, to victims or witnesses and it is reasonable to believe that they would be adversely affected if required to participate in multiple judicial proceedings

• informant – to protect the identity of a confidential informant

• logistical problems – where the public interest requires resolution of a serious logistical problem, such as an absconding co-accused, complexities involving numerous witnesses and lengthy testimony, or other procedural or substantive complications

• delay – where it is a reasonable possibility that conducting or completing a preliminary inquiry would cause such delay that the trial process would become unmanageable, or result in a successful application for a judicial stay of proceedings under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

• expedited trial necessary – where the public interest requires an expedited trial date for reasons such as:

- serious health problems of an accused or an essential witness

- the likelihood that hostile Crown witnesses will change their evidence in the near future

- similar developments that make an early trial date necessary

• ongoing investigations – to protect ongoing police investigations, operations, and security where the need for such protection is significant and demonstrable

• courtroom security – where, because of the nature of the issues involved or the parties or witnesses involved, there exist significant problems of courtroom security, including the safety of those involved in the administration of justice and the public

• multiple proceedings – where a direct indictment is necessary to avoid multiple proceedings (for example, where one accused has been ordered to stand trial following a preliminary inquiry, and a second accused has just been charged with the same offence)

• discharge – where a judge at a preliminary inquiry has made a decision that is clearly unreasonable in that it is either not supported by the evidence or is based on a clear error in law and results in a failure to commit on an Information, or a particular count which the public interest requires to be prosecuted

• unable to obtain admissions – where the Crown has led evidence at the preliminary inquiry and has been unsuccessful in obtaining admissions of fact from the accused forthe purposes of the preliminary inquiry on easily proven matters, and the cost of a full preliminary inquiry would be inordinate

• procedural error – where after a full preliminary inquiry, the committal order may be invalid solely due to procedural error

• good faith error by the Crown – where the Crown failed to call material evidence available at a preliminary inquiry resulting in a discharge on an Information or particular count and the evidence is still available for trial

• new evidence – where material new evidence has become available after a discharge at a preliminary inquiry and the public interest requires that the matter be prosecuted (for example, where similar fact evidence arises linking the charge to a subsequent charge or DNA evidence becomes available)

• different or additional charges – where material new evidence becomes available after committal and the public interest requires a prosecution on different or additional charges

• new complainant – where material evidence from an additional complainant becomes available after committal and, taking into account the law on similar fact evidence and severance, it is in the public interest that a trial be conducted on all charges together by direct indictment and not be delayed for a preliminary inquiry on the new complaint

READ MORE: North Okanagan murder suspect abandons bail application, will remain in custody

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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