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Langley teacher’s alleged killer in court for three-week hearing

Obnes Regis’s actual trial is currently scheduled for late next spring
Police at the home of Naomi Onotera shortly after her husband was arrested and charged with her death on Friday, Dec. 17. By Monday, they had left. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

A Langley man accused of killing his wife is before a judge in New Westminster Supreme Court this month for a three-week hearing, but the trial of Obnes Regis will not take place until late next spring.

Regis is charged with manslaughter and interfering with human remains in the death of his wife, Naomi Onotera.

Onotera lived in Langley City and was an elementary school teacher and school librarian in Surrey before she went missing around Aug. 28, 2021.

After she was reported missing, friends, family, and community members plastered the community with missing posters and conducted a large-scale search in the area round her home, concentrating on nearby parkland around Brydon Lagoon and the Nicomekl River floodplain.

By September, the Langley RCMP had brought in the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

Regis was arrested and charged on December 17, 2021 after several searches of the home he had shared with Onotera. Forensic investigators then returned to the home again.

Regis applied for bail the following year, but was denied, and remained in custody.

At the hearing, Regis sat in the prisoner’s box, listening intently as a court interpreter translated the proceedings from English to French. Regis is originally from Haiti.

Regis, his hair trimmed short and wearing a grey sweater, took frequent notes during the hearing.

The hearing currently underway is a voir dire, which is an evidentiary hearing often held before a trial. The voir dire is held to decide the admissibility of evidence to be used at the trial.

This hearing began on Oct. 17 and is expected to run until Nov. 3, for 14 days in total.

During the proceedings on Thursday, Langley RCMP officers were on the stand, mostly talking about events that took place in the immediate aftermath of the missing persons reports about Onotera.

There are publication bans in place for certain elements of the voir dire, including on the identity of undercover police officers, who are expected to testify.

Regis has opted for a trial before a judge and jury, which is currently scheduled to take place from May 13 to June 27, 2024, in New Westminster.

Persons charged with a criminal offence are considered not guilty until the charges are proven in court.

However, Crown prosecutor Crichton Pike said he believed the trial would start in June.

READ ALSO: Search of Naomi Onotera house wraps up

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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