The trial of a 20-year-old Surrey man accused of carrying a loaded handgun near a Burnaby mall has been postponed because of COVID-19.
Arunjit Singh Virk has pleaded not guilty to one count of possessing a loaded prohibited or restricted firearm.
The charge relates to an incident near the Metropolis at Metrotown mall on March 28 last year.
In a tweet the following day, Metro Vancouver Transit Police said its crime suppression team had interrupted a suspected drug deal at Metrotown on the weekend.
The tweet said the suspect, a 19-year-old Surrey man, had fled but was arrested with help from mall security.
Transit police said officers seized a loaded 9mm handgun during the arrest, and “multiple firearm charges” were recommended.
Media spokesperson Sgt. Clint Hampton confirmed the suspect referred to in the March tweet was Virk.
Virk was charged on March 29 and entered a not-guilty plea on July 29.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a minimum sentence of three years for the first offence.
A two-day trial was scheduled to begin Thursday, but a B.C. provincial court directive designed to stop the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19 announced that all out-of-custody criminal hearings between Jan. 4 and 7 would be adjourned and rescheduled.
Virk is currently out on bail.
Lawyers in Virk’s case appeared in Vancouver provincial court Thursday to reschedule his trial – and add two extra days.
“I believe (Defence lawyer) Mr. (David) Karp believes four days are required for trial, and I think that’s probably appropriate,” Crown prosecutor James Patterson told the court.
Virk’s next appearance is now scheduled for Jan. 20 to pick new trial dates, this time for a four-day trial.
Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor