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Anti-vaccine protester's Kelowna trial derailed by Facebook posts

Bruce Orydzuk is representing himself in court.
Bruce Orydzuk yells at a security guard on July 13, 2021 in Kelowna.

Testimony in what was to have been the second day of a trial involving noted anti-vaccine and pandemic protester Bruce Orydzuk came to a grinding halt Wednesday.

The case was scheduled to resume Wednesday morning at 9:30, but was delayed, first due to a bomb scare that caused evacuation of the courthouse for nearly 90 minutes.

When proceedings inside the courthouse resumed shortly after 11 a.m., there was a further delay while court awaited the arrival of the Crown.

"The clerk forwarded me an email that the Crown had sent to her indicating the reason for delay was that they wished to bring an application with respect to your bail," trial judge David Ruse told Orydzuk when the case resumed.

Crown told the court the delay centred around him receiving two texts from members of the public that had attached to them a clip from Facebook.

"As I read this clip it causes me concern, grave concern. It causes the Crown grave concern and I believe it will ultimately cause the same concern to the court," he told Judge Ruse.

"It purports to have been posted by Mr. Orydzuk and, on it's surface, makes comments about the witness who has already, under oath, testified before this very court."

He said the witness, who Castanet is not naming, had expressed some concerns toward the end of the day Tuesday.

"Suffice to say this certainly hasn't helped that concern. She is quite distraught," Crown said.

Judge Ruse asked that specifics of the application not be made before him.

"I don't believe that I, as the trial judge, should hear that application because it is going to give information that is outside the confines of the trial," said Ruse.

The application was heard by a separate judge Wednesday afternoon.

The specific contents of the application and the judge's ruling were ordered sealed until the trial is concluded.

The trial is scheduled to run until Thursday, but additional time may be needed after the delays.

Orydzuk is representing himself in court.

He is charged with a single count of causing a disturbance stemming from a protest July 13, 2021 outside the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Trinity Church on Springfield Road.

The incident made national headlines due to the racist nature of the abuse that he hurled at a security guard working outside the vaccine clinic.