Vagramov case to proceed summarily

Special prosecutor Michael Klein tells the Port Coquitlam provincial court judge that Port Moody Mayor Robert Vagramov has consented to proceed summarily for his sexual assault charge.

The sexual assault charge against Port Moody's mayor will proceed summarily, meaning a potentially smaller penalty if he's convicted.

The move, which was applied for Monday by special prosecutor Michael Klein, with the consent of Mayor Rob Vagramov, comes under Section 786 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

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What this means, according to Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel with the B.C. Prosecution Service, is: "Procedurally, a summary trial takes place in provincial court. There is no option to elect trial by judge and jury or by a superior court justice, and no preliminary inquiry, as you would if the trial was proceeding by indictment."

Summary offences are considered less serious than indictable offences: Under Section 271 of the Code, a summary conviction for sexual assault carries a prison term of not more than 18 months; if the case proceeds as an indictable offence, the accused, if convicted, could be punished with up to 10 years in jail (for complainants older than 16).

Vagramov has publicly denied the accusation of sexual assault, which is alleged to have happened in Coquitlam between April 1 and July 10, 2015.

Klein and Karyn Leslie, an articling student for Vagramov’s lawyer, Ian Donaldson, also asked the court to adjourned the matter until July 15.

Vagramov has taken a leave of absence from his duties at city hall and as chair of the Port Moody Police Board. He was elected last October as the youngest person to win the city's top job.

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