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Trial for Prince George man's accused killers delayed by 11 months

Michael Bonin - Prince George
Michael Bonin of Prince George was murdered near Hope in April 2017. (via Annette Bonin)

On the same week a Prince George man would have turned 24 years old, the trial for the three men accused of his murder was delayed by 11 months.

On Monday (June 1) in Kelowna's BC Supreme Court, the murder trial of Michael Bonin for 28-year-old Ryan Watt, 22-year-old Joshua Fleurant and 29-year-old Jared Jorgenson was pushed back to May 2021 due to scheduling issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 12-week trial was initially scheduled to begin later this month.

Michael Bonin's body was found on Peers Creek Road just east of Hope on April 20, 2017.

Close to nine months later, Watt, Fleurant and Jorgenson were arrested and charged in the killing.

While all three were originally charged with first-degree murder, Jorgenson's charge was later changed to second-degree.

Jorgenson was released from custody on $35,000 bail in June 2018, while the other two remain behind bars.

On Tuesday (June 2), Bonin's mother Annette said the delay is disappointing, but she's still confident the men accused of killing her son will be convicted.

“Ryan Watt, Joshua Fleurant and Jared Jorgenson are looking at going away for a long time, a delay is not going to change what they did,” Annette said.

“It might be a year longer for Michael and I to have to wait for them to face the murder charges but it'll happen.”

Bonin would have turned 24 years old on Wednesday. To celebrate his birthday, Annette will be spending the day with Michael's dog Daisy, at a river north of Prince George where she used to spend time with her son.

With the latest delay, jury selection for the 12-week trial will now begin on May 17, 2021.

This will mean the beginning of the lengthy trial will occur more than 40 months after charges were laid.

While a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision ruled Supreme Court trials must be completed within 30 months of charges being laid, the ruling allows for exceptions to made under “exceptional circumstances,” which the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to fall under.