One of the highest profile trials in Island history is getting underway in Nanaimo, as a tragic day at the Western Forest products mill there is relived.
Kevin Addison is facing two counts of first degree murder and two more of attempted murder and Tuesday a jury was selected to hear the case that has touched so many in that community.
Arriving to court in an armoured truck Tuesday, security was tight around Kevin Addison.
The murder trial against him is set to begin, though the 150 potential jurors, who’ve been ordered to show up at Nanaimo’s courthouse for jury duty don’t know it yet.
“I had no idea what case it was until I got here,” says potential Juror Lynn Shamrock. “And when you found out?” “I was a little edgy,” says Sharrock.
Addison is charged with murdering former co-workers Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern and attempted murder of two more men in the mill shooting at Western Forest Products on April 30th, 2014.
Before any evidence is heard, crown and defense are tasked with whittling down the pool of 150 prospective jurors. Searching for people who will hear the evidence without bias, after the shooting garnered such massive media attention and public interest from that tragic day forward.
“A questioning of potential jurors if they are appropriately impartial to be on the jury,” says Addison’s defense John Gustafson.
The challenge for lawyers is finding 12 jurors and two back ups in the mid-Island city who aren’t somehow connected to the accused, the mill, the victims or don’t fully admit they have already decided the case before hearing evidence at trial.
This is a tight knit community, and that day is remembered in infamy here. So jury selection lasted for hours.
“In a regular jury selection people wouldn’t be asked any of the questions that you saw in the courtroom,” says Gustafson.
But by late afternoon, a jury was selected. Though Lynn Sharoock wasn’t one of them.
“I think I just was a little leery because I’d heard so much of the story,” says Sharrock.
“You’re glad to be going home?” “Oh yes, very,” she says.
Kevin Addison’s trial is expected to last four weeks and begins Wednesday morning.