Court of Appeals. (File photo)

New trial ordered in Vanderhoof man’s ‘brutal’ murder in basement

B.C. Court of Appeal rules trial judge failed to give key information to jurors in the Fribjon Bjornson case

A new trial has been ordered for a Nak’azdli Whut’en man convicted of first-degree murder.

James David Junior Charlie was convicted by a jury in 2017 in the “brutal” death of Fribjon Bjornson five years earlier near Fort St. James.

Prosecutors had argued that Charlie had been one of four people to assault Bjornson in a basement over a “prolonged” period of time, had provided a cord used to strangle him, and had helped leave the body at nearby Stuart Lake.

He and another person were also alleged to have later moved the body to another location and committed indignities. Charlie had pleaded guilty to offering indignities to a dead body.

Charlie appealed the murder conviction, arguing the trial judge had erred in answering one of the jury’s questions on his intent at the time of the offence.

The B.C. Court of Appeal released a ruling on Thursday, saying it agreed, and ordered a new trial.

Bjornson’s mother, Eileen said she was “heartbroken” and “disgusted”.

“We have been through enough and don’t need to go through this again. The only ones with rights are the criminals. The victims and their families have none,” she said.

Eileen said the appeal was granted on a “technicality” which doesn’t make Charlie not guilty.

“We have to endure another trial and taxpayers have to foot the bill.”

“Why can’t he just take responsibility for his actions and stop hurting our family,” she added.

Correction: In the initial version of the story, Vanderhoof Omineca Express had alluded that James David Junior Charlie is from Vanderhoof. He in fact is from Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation. Vanderhoof Omineca Express regrets the error.


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

[email protected]

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

murder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New MP Taylor Bachrach makes his first trip to Bella Coola

Bachrach said he is keen to get to know his riding and the members of his constituency

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Nuxalk Nation celebrates first carpentry graduates

11 students graduated from the community’s first carpentry program

Bella Coola leave their mark on All Native Basketball Tournament as they reach Intermediate final

Nuxalk Braves bring home a strong second place finish; three individual awards for Marlon Edgar-Apps

All Native Basketball: Finals matchups start to take shape as title games approach

Two Prince Rupert sides in contention, while two dynasties are on the brink

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read