Accused killer arrested moments before murder trial, accused of witness tampering

Witness tampering alleged

An accused killer was put in handcuffs Tuesday morning moments before his murder trial got underway at the Kamloops Law Courts, arrested on new charges alleging he attempted to bribe a witness to change her tune.

Corey Harkness was slated to stand trial in B.C. Supreme Court beginning on Tuesday on one count of second-degree murder.

The 35-year-old, who had been free on bail, showed up to court and was arrested on a warrant issued Monday night, not long after Crown prosecutors heard an allegation from witness Chelsea Prior that Harkness tried to persuade her to change her story.

Harkness is facing two new charges — one count each of attempting to obstruct justice and breaching a no-contact order.

Court documents name Prior, who was expected to be called as a Crown witness in the murder trial, as the person with whom Harkness made contact. The documents allege the attempted obstruction took place in Cache Creek on Jan. 31.

Prior was one of a number of witnesses named in Harkness’ bail order with whom he was barred from having any contact.

Harkness is accused of killing Brock Ledoux on Jan. 14, 2019. Ledoux was gunned down inside a house in Cache Creek.

Prior said Harkness contacted her indirectly — through her boyfriend — with a question.

"Basically the message was what would it be worth to me to drop my statement," she said.

Ledoux’s relatives told Castanet Kamloops they learned of the contact and told Prior to report the incident to prosecutors.

Defence lawyers Jeremy Jensen and Joe Killoran got off the record during a brief hearing on Tuesday afternoon. Harkness is now in jail and without a lawyer.

“It’s regrettable that this happened on the morning of trial, but these things happen sometimes,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kathleen Ker said in court.

Harkness is due back in court on Feb. 21 to set a new date for trial.

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg said he will seek to have Harkness’ bail revoked on the murder charge.

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