Border closure delays trial for American lawyer again

·2 min read

The trial for the American lawyer facing charges for allegedly bringing two guns into the Osoyoos Port of Entry in 2020 is getting delayed for a second time due to the closure of the Canada-U.S. border.

Shawn Bertram Jensen, 60, a practising lawyer in Washington State, is facing two charges under the Customs Act and six counts under the Criminal Code for allegedly possessing a loaded, restricted Ruger .22 handgun and an unloaded Colt AR15 SP1 rifle at the Osoyoos border crossing on Oct. 25, 2020, according to court documents.

Jensen had an initial application to adjourn the trial granted on Nov. 2, 2020 due to the 14-day isolation requirements for those coming across the border. He applied for a second delay which was granted on Feb. 1 in Penticton provincial court.

It was again pointed out by federal Crown prosecutor Jennifer Crews that Jensen would in fact be permitted to cross the border for a court proceeding as it is deemed essential travel. Crown opposed the application to delay the trial for a second time.

“I should point out, and again my friend is going to get tired of me saying this, Mr. Jensen would be permitted into Canada as court dates are considered essential travel, but he would have to quarantine 14 days prior to the trial, which is likely today or tomorrow he would have to enter Canada and begin his quarantine” Crews said.

“Although my friend says the border closure impedes his client’s ability to enter the country, that’s true … and not true in that he can come into the country he would just have to quarantine.”

Judge Michelle Daneliuk suggested Jensen to appear virtually for at least the beginning of the scheduled trial dates, however Jensen’s defence counsel, Wade Jenson, said his client prefers to be physically present for the trial.

“I haven’t specifically investigated approaching it in that fashion your honour I can just say at this point that Mr. Jensen is certainly wishing to be present for the entirety of this trial,” Jenson said.

Daneliuk granted the adjournment, noting the circumstances were exceptional.

“I will adjourn the trial exceptionally in these circumstances of the pandemic that we’re facing and note for the record that although it would be possible for Mr. Jensen physically to enter the country it requires some exceptional accommodations to be made including expenses to travel here and quarantine for two weeks prior to the commencement of the trial. And so, in the circumstances, I will adjourn,” Daneliuk said.

The trial will be rescheduled at a hearing with the Judicial Case Manager on Feb. 8.

“Let’s face reality, things aren’t likely to be markedly different in April of this year from what they are now, so I just suggest Mr. Jenson setting this in a time-frame so we won’t have the same application again,” Daneliuk said.

Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle