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Accused drug trafficker William Merkley opts to be tried by Supreme Court judge

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An Ontario man who was arrested in Ontario for failing to show up for a court date in Corner Brook last month has chosen to be tried by a judge alone.

An arrest warrant was issued for William Vincent Merkley after he did not make his scheduled appearance in provincial court Feb. 17.

He was arrested in Cornwall, Ont., on March 2 and brought back to Newfoundland and Labrador the following day. He was released March 9 after a bail hearing.

Merkley was initially arrested following a traffic stop on the Trans-Canada Highway near Deer Lake on Oct. 10, 2015. He and another Ontario man were charged with possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.

Merkley was in provincial court in Corner Brook in person Tuesday and elected to be tried by judge alone in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. He will first have a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is sufficient evidence for him to stand trial.

The preliminary inquiry was scheduled for July 18.

The other man involved in the case, Steven John Adams, is set to go to trial May 8. Besides the drug offence, Adams has also been charged with failure to comply with a court order and failure to attend court.

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