The trial of a man accused of beating a teen into a coma after finding him on his property in 2016 will not take place in Kamloops.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge on Monday granted an application from Kristopher Teichrieb’s defence lawyer to have his trial moved to Kelowna.
Teichrieb, 41, has been in custody since the early-morning hours of June 19, 2016, when he is alleged to have assaulted Jessie Simpson, who was then 18.
Simpson, who is now 20 and remains in hospital, was assaulted at Holt Street and Clifford Avenue in Brocklehurst, not far from Teichrieb’s home.
Simpson’s friends and family have said the teen was celebrating high school graduation the night before the attack and may have been searching for a group of friends when he was attacked.
“Due to the extensive publicity in this case, Mr. Teichrieb would not get a fair trial in this location,” defence lawyer Jordan Watt said, pointing to dozens of news stories detailing the allegations against his client and the injuries to Simpson. “They draw not only sympathy, but also empathy towards the victim.”
Watt also mentioned comments posted online in response to news stories depicting “much animosity” toward Teichrieb, as well as a May 2017 story in KTW that mentioned the possibility of a guilty plea after lawyers on both sides asked for more time to talk.
“We have discussed Kelowna as a place where all of the witnesses could easily get to from here,” Watt said.
The Crown, two prosecutors from the Lower Mainland, did not oppose the change-of-venue application.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves ordered the file transferred to Kelowna and gave lawyers six weeks to begin looking for a trial date.
After spending months in a coma, Simpson began to wake up following brain surgery in early 2017. Since then, his health has fluctuated and he has been transferred from his room at Royal Inland Hospital to the facility’s intensive-care unit multiple times.
In June, a judge declared Simpson legally infirm, appointing his mother to act on his behalf.