Pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing to be ex­tended

COM­PLAINANT TES­TI­FIES IN CLOSED COURT ROOM

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - Delon Shurtz LETH­BRIDGE HER­ALD

The pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing into sex­ual ex­ploita­tion charges against a Ray­mond school teacher will likely have to be ex­tended an­other day, and pos­si­bly even two as tes­ti­mony by Crown wit­nesses takes longer than ex­pected.

The hear­ing for Jen­try Jack Salmon, which be­gan Tues­day in Leth­bridge pro­vin­cial court, was sched­uled to run two days, but be­fore the end of the first day it was al­ready ap­par­ent a third day would be nec­es­sary. Part way through the sec­ond day, when only two of seven wit­nesses had tes­ti­fied, lawyers be­gan con­sid­er­ing the like­li­hood of a fourth day, as well.

Salmon, 34, is charged with two counts of sex­ual ex­ploita­tion. He is ac­cused of hav­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­ac­tions with a stu­dent through text mes­sages and en­gag­ing in in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct out­side of school.

The ac­cused was sus­pended from teach­ing at Ray­mond High School last Oc­to­ber fol­low­ing the al­le­ga­tions and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the West­wind School Di­vi­sion. RCMP charged Salmon on Feb. 17.

Salmon has pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected to be tried by a Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury. Fol­low­ing his ar­rest he was re­leased on a $1,000 no-cash rec­og­nizance and or­dered not to have any con­tact with the com­plainant in the case.

Al­though court an­tic­i­pated hear­ing from four wit­nesses Tues­day, only a foren­sic spe­cial­ist with the RCMP had taken the stand by the end of the day. On Wednesday court heard from the high school girls’ rugby coach, as well as the com­plainant in the case. The judge cleared the court­room dur­ing her tes­ti­mony, a step al­lowed un­der Sec­tion 486 of the Crim­i­nal Code, which states, “the pre­sid­ing judge or jus­tice may or­der the ex­clu­sion of all or any mem­bers of the pub­lic from the court­room for all or part of the pro­ceed­ings if the judge or jus­tice is of the opin­ion that such an or­der is in the in­ter­est of pub­lic morals, the main­te­nance of or­der or the proper ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice .... ”

Judge Derek Red­man re­ferred to the an­tic­i­pated sen­si­tive na­ture of the woman’s tes­ti­mony and the dif­fi­culty she would likely have tes­ti­fy­ing in front of the pub­lic.

Tes­ti­mony and ev­i­dence pro­vided by wit­nesses dur­ing the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing — to de­ter­mine whether there is enough ev­i­dence to war­rant a trial — are sub­ject to a pub­li­ca­tion ban and can’t be re­ported.

Fol­low­ing the com­plainant’s tes­ti­mony, which was ex­pected to run late, lawyers hoped to sched­ule dates to con­tinue the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing. Those dates aren’t ex­pected any ear­lier than Novem­ber.

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