RCMP at the apartment building where a man was killed on the morning of April 26, 2017. Crown has since stayed the manslaughter charge against the accused. (file photo)

Charges discontinued in 2017 shooting death of Penticton man

The manslaughter charge against Sylvain Demers has been stayed by Crown

Crown Council has decided to discontinue the charges against a man involved in an April 2017 at Penticton apartment building that left one man dead.

Sylvain Modeste Demers, 39, had been charged with manslaughter following the shooting.

Alicia Adams of the B.C. Prosecution Service said the charge in the death Randall Toews, 52, was stayed as a result of reassessment of the available evidence.

“After considering the evidence as clarified at the preliminary inquiry and the rest of the file materials, the prosecutor concluded the charge approval standard was no longer met,” said Adams. “In these circumstances a stay of proceedings is the appropriate course of action.”

The shooting happened about 10:30 a.m. April 26, 2017, at the residence located at 998 Creston Ave. near Comox Street.

This was the second case of charges being stayed by the Crown in just over a week, in Penticton. Aggravated assault charges against Gregory Nield,in connection with the alleged attack on a Penticton psychiatrist, were also discontinued for the same reason of the charge approval no longer being able to be met.

In the matter of Demers, when police responded to reports of shots being fired they found the adult male deceased and a suspect was taken into custody.

A witness at the time reported seeing a man staggering down the stairs from one of the apartments and collapse on the ground and another person said they walked past the body of a man, his top half covered up, with his hand over the stomach and blood coming out from under it.

READ MORE: Penticton RCMP investigating possible murder

Neighbours also told the Western News they heard a loud bang, screaming and then saw a man holding his stomach where he had apparently been shot.

A resident of the apartment said they heard banging on his neighbour’s door and someone saying: “it is in your best interest to open your door for me right now,” prior to the shooting.

Initially the accused was released from custody without charges, police saying there was no danger to the public and that both parties in the matter knew each other.

READ MORE: Shooting suspect released

A warrant was later issued for Demers and he was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant after charges were sworn just over a month before.

Prior to the charges being stayed, the accused was scheduled to go to trial in Penticton this March.

There were also published reports the shooting may have been in self defence, with the defence lawyer alleging Toews was armed at the time of the incident.

When proceedings are stayed, the prosecutor can restart the proceedings within a year. However, this is almost never done unless new evidence comes to light that significantly increases the prosecutors chance of securing a conviction.


 

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