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Judge denies bail for suspect in Fort St. John murder case

Shane Sutherland sought his release ahead of a second-degree murder trial scheduled to begin in June

A Fort St. John man accused of killing his girlfriend two years ago has been denied bail.

Shane Sutherland appeared before Justice Ronald Tindale in Fort St. John Supreme Court this week, seeking his release ahead of a second-degree murder trial scheduled to begin later this year.

Sutherland was arrested Feb. 8, 2021, after RCMP were called to a home in the Village St. John townhouse complex where Amanda Black, 22, was found dead. He has been held in custody ever since.

Details from his bail hearing held Tuesday and Thursday are under a court-ordered publication ban, preventing reporters from writing about the evidence and arguments given during the hearing, as well as the reasons for Justice Tindale’s decision.

Sutherland made his appearance via video from the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre wearing an orange jumpsuit. The Crown and his defence lawyer spent all day Tuesday describing the circumstances of Black’s death and Sutherland’s arrest, and making arguments for and against his release.

On Thursday, Justice Tindale dismissed Sutherland’s application for release. He remains in custody.

A judge-only trial is scheduled for three weeks in June following a voir dire hearing in May to determine the admissibility of certain evidence.

Sutherland has not been found guilty of the charge. If convicted, he will be sentenced to life in prison.

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