A former Vernon teacher has been found guilty of committing sex crimes against minors in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
In a Kelowna courtroom on May 14, 40-year-old Anoop Singh Klair was found guilty of all eight charges against him, one count of sexual assault with a weapon, three counts of sexual assault, and four counts of sexual interference — one with a child under 16 and three with children under 14.
The incidents happened in Vernon between 1999 and 2003, well before Klair earned his Bachelor of Education degree; he would have been in his late teens and early 20s at the time. An email provided to Black Press Media shows Klair formerly worked at Vernon’s School District 22.
Throughout the trial, the court heard testimony from the four victims, whose names and relationship to Klair are covered under a publication ban, and Klair himself.
One of the victims testified Klair pulled him into the washroom and sodomized him with either a plunger or toilet brush. The majority of the details outlined by the victims are also covered under the publication ban.
“I found all four complainants to be very good witnesses, who did their best to provide truthful and accurate accounts,” said BC Supreme Court Justice Murray Blok.
But when it came to Klair’s testimony, Blok said he was “unable to accept key aspects of Mr. Klair’s testimony, his denials in particular,” adding Klair was “noticeably cagey” during cross-examination.
Before the guilty verdict, Klair’s lawyer Nicholas Jacobs applied to have the case dismissed entirely under a Jordan ruling — a Supreme Court of Canada decision that gives the accused the right to be tried within 30 months. Klair was charged in the fall of 2018.
Jacobs alleged the Crown did not try hard enough to mitigate significant court delays posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and a late witness revelation.
Blok decided those delays were caused by “discrete exceptional events” out of the hands of both parties and dismissed Jacobs’s application.
Klair will be sentenced at a later date. He will appear in court on May 25 to fix a date for his sentencing hearing.
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