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Preliminary inquiry starts in case of fatal Vancouver Chinatown stabbing

Jaal Routh Kueth is charged with second-degree murder in the February 2023 death of Nikolai Sugak.
The fatal stabbing took place just after midnight on Feb. 6, 2023.

A preliminary inquiry has started in Vancouver Provincial Court for a Surrey man charged with second-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a man in Vancouver's Chinatown.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) said Nikolai Sugak, 32, was found gravely injured near West Pender and Carrall streets shortly after midnight on Feb. 6, 2023.

Despite receiving emergency medical attention, Sugak died shortly after he was found.

Police believe Sugak was stabbed by a stranger in nearby Shanghai Alley before collapsing into the street. The death led to a five-week investigation. 

One count of second-degree murder was laid against Jaal Routh Kueth.

Preliminary inquiries are held to determine if enough evidence exists to proceed to trial. Those hearings are covered by a publication ban to prevent tainting of a jury should an accused elect trial by judge and jury in B.C. Supreme Court.

Trials are held when a person pleads not guilty to a charge. People are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Kueth first appeared on the charge in Vancouver Provincial Court on March 17, 2023 before Judge Jennifer Oulton.

Kueth was ordered detained "due to the nature of the charge."

VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said the violent offence caused significant concern about crime and public safety in the neighbourhood.