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‘Shoebox’ debacle forces extension of arson trial for Oliver man

During testimony an additional piece of evidence was brought up
B.C. Supreme Court chambers at the Penticton Law Courts on Main Street. (Western News file photo)

The trial of an Oliver man accused of setting fire to a pharmacy in 2021 has been extended after additional evidence was brought forward during testimony.

A shoebox that was seized during the execution of a search warrant against Steven Marlo Gallagher was suddenly thrust into the spotlight during a police officer’s testimony on the second and originally final day of trial on May 4.

It was mentioned that the box was likely still in RCMP custody, and Crown expressed a wish to get it and bring it into the trial.

Defence for Gallagher was surprised by the discussion of the shoebox, as it had not been brought up at the pre-trial conference, and they wished to review it before it was entered into evidence. That would include a voir dire over the shoe box itself.

READ MORE: Shots fired at police, multiple arsons in same night ‘very concerning’ for Oliver RCMP

The core of the trial so far has been focused on identifying Gallagher through security camera footage on the night of May 15, 2021, when the fire was set at the pharmacy in Oliver, a vehicle was set on fire and bullets allegedly shot into the bumper of a cruiser parked outside the police detachment.

Crown requested another day in court in order to address any potential Charter issues around the search and seizure of the shoebox, as well as the importance of the box itself once or if it is entered into official evidence.

The Supreme Court Justice presiding over the case agreed to an additional day after hearing from counsel.

An exact date for the additional day of trial was not formally set.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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