By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A warrant has been issued for three family members accused of faking an anti-Semitic attack at their Winnipeg café.
Lawyers for the family say they are in the United States unable to return to Canada for trial due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oxana Berent, along with her husband, Alexander, and son, Maxim, were charged with public mischief after the Bermax Caffe was vandalized and spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti last year.
They have denied that they staged the crime.
Defence lawyer Michael Lazar says the family lost their business and home and were ostracized from the community, so they relocated to Los Angeles.
He says they have continued to take part in the court process but the pandemic, self-isolation policies and their financial situation have made it impossible to return to Winnipeg for a trial scheduled later this month.
Last week, provincial court Judge Anne Krahn issued an endorsed warrant for the family, in an agreement between Crown and defence.
Lazar says the warrant essentially puts a pause on court proceedings until the pandemic is under better control and the family can return for a trial.