A scene from a 2019 production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ at the Capitol Theatre. The stage will host an actual criminal trial at the end of September. Photo: Tyler Harper

The trial must go on: Nelson’s Capitol Theatre to host Supreme Court case

The manslaughter trial of an RCMP officer will start at the theatre on Sept. 28

A real courtroom drama is about to play out at Nelson’s Capitol Theatre.

The 93-year-old theatre will be the stage for the trial of Castlegar RCMP Const. Jason Tait, who is charged with manslaughter in the 2015 death of Waylon Jesse Edey. The trial is scheduled to start Sept. 28.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Attorney General told the Star physical distancing measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a search for a larger venue than the Supreme Court room at the Nelson Courthouse for Tait’s trial, which will include a jury and is expected to take six weeks.

“The ministry canvassed a number of venues in Nelson that could accommodate a jury trial, taking into account the physical distancing guidelines required under COVID,” said the spokesperson.

“The only venue that met the requirements of a court facility (including counsel stand down rooms, jury box, public gallery, judges chambers and other considerations including proximity to accommodation and possible jury deliberation sites, courthouse, security etc.) was the Capitol Theatre.”

Related: Jury selection begins in Castlegar RCMP shooting death

Criminal trials resumed Sept. 8 at B.C. Supreme Courts after being shut down March 19. Plexiglas barriers, limits of the number of people in a courtroom and screenings at courthouse entrances are among the changes that have been introduced at courthouses around the province. When necessary, the ministry said, jury trials would be held in off-site locations.

The trial will be one of the few events to be hosted at the 400-seat Capitol Theatre in 2020. Scheduled shows, such as a performance by legendary Canadian children’s star Fred Penner or a local production of Little Shop of Horrors, were either cancelled or postponed following the provincial lockdown in March.

But the theatre has continued operating. Its annual summer youth program moved outdoors and changed from an on-stage play to a film production, it assisted with local Canada Day celebrations by pre-recording speakers and performers for an online video, and in August renovations began on the theatre’s washrooms.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CrimeLive theatre

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

Just Posted

SS Bonnington steam whistle comes home to Nakusp

Shawn Pollard has donated the ship’s steam whistle to the Nakusp Rail Society on behalf his father

Trial of RCMP officer begins in Nelson’s Capitol Theatre

Jason Tait is charged with manslaughter after an incident in 2015

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Kaslo councillor admits to ‘baiting’ member of public in email exchange

Kaslo Village Council to consider adopting code of conduct

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Zero new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Five cases remain linked to an outbreak at Calvary Chapel in Kelowna

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Most Read