An internal review of the prosecution of a man accused of killing a 28-year-old woman in Port Alberni in 2006 has resulted in 12 recommendations for B.C.’s Crown counsel.
Recommendations released Friday include involving prosecutors in the investigative stage of a crime, ensuring all required information is received before charge approval, and having files reviewed by a paralegal to ensure compliance of standards.
Assigning a minimum of two members of the Crown counsel to cases that involve “sophisticated police techniques” is also recommended.
Kristy Morrey’s body was found in her home in the Port Alberni neighbourhood of Beaver Creek in 2006.
At the time, police believed her death was due to natural causes, but announced a year later that she indeed had been the victim of a homicide. Morrey’s ex-boyfriend, Larry Darling, was charged with first-degree murder in 2015.
In June of this year, however, Crown counsel ordered a stay of proceedings against Darling after it said it received further information from investigators that had not available at the time of the initial charge assessment.
With the new evidence, the two-part test considered in every charge was no longer met, Crown said. The test asks whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction and whether the public interest requires a prosecution.
A review into Darling’s prosecution was ordered in July by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Pete Juk, after the prosecution service found there had been problems with case management, disclosure, and the handling of exhibits and evidence.
Other recommendations include creating a paralegal position specifically for the North Island.
The BC Prosecution Service said in a statement Friday it plans to implement recommendations that are not already part of its approach to managing serious prosecutions.