The trial of three Cranbrook men on charges of conspiracy to commit murder will be heard in Kamloops, Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley decided Monday.
Dley rejected a defense counsel application for a change of venue to Cranbrook or the Lower Mainland for a variety of reasons.
The trial is tentatively scheduled to begin Feb. 4.
There is a publication ban on other details of the voir dire stage of the preliminary inquiry since the case will be decided by jury.
Dley was appointed case management judge in December for the trial of Lonnie Adams, Lorne Carry and Colin Correia. All three are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and counseling an indictable offence. As well, Carry and Correia are charged with firearms offences. Adams and Carry remain in custody.
RCMP have said the charges are related to rival gangs seeking to control the drug trade in Cranbrook.
Dley was appointed in order to deal with a large quantity of evidence in the trial, which is expected to take 10 weeks or more.
Cranbrook - where the alleged offence occurred and initial stages of a preliminary inquiry were held before it was relocated to Kamloops earlier this year - lacks adequate holding facilities for the accused, Dley said.
The case, which developed in the aftermath of a double homicide, has received a great deal of publicity in Cranbook, another reason why it should not be held there due to the difficulty that might present for jury selection, Dley ruled.
Holding the trial in Vancouver would make it more difficult for as many as 20 investigating police officers, based in Kelowna, to testify, he noted.
In May 2010, a suspect dressed in camouflage broke into a Cranbrook home and shot and killed Leanne MacFarlane and Jeff Taylor. The couple owned Shuswap Wireless Connections in Salmon Arm.
Police confirmed that the couple had just moved into a home formerly rented by Doug Mahon, a Cranbrook drug trafficker. They believed MacFarlane and Taylor were innocent and that the slayings were related to a 2009 shooting outside of the Sam Steele Hotel. Mahon was charged in that shooting. The victim was Chad Munroe, who was initially charged along with Adams, Carry and Correia.
Last November, lawyers in the case asked that the trial be heard outside of Cranbrook due to security concerns and the advanced publicity it had received.