Preliminary hearing to be extended
COMPLAINANT TESTIFIES IN CLOSED COURT ROOM
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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