September 13, 2013 - 3:00 PM
"MY BABY SISTER WAS GONE, HOW DO YOU THINK I FELT?"
KELOWNA – Brittney Irving was going to do one last drug deal—selling two large bags of marijuana—before checking into rehab, her brother told a Kelowna Supreme Court jury today.
Joze Macculloch was one of the last people to see Irving before she disappeared in 2010 and says the two were planning to make a clean start after the deal. They planned to go into detox treatment for their addictions.
“(We) decided we both should probably smarten up,” Macculloch told fourteen jurors in the first-degree murder trial of Joelon Verma. He is accused in the April 2010 shooting death of Irving.
Crown prosecutor Iain Currie read out text messages Irving sent to her brother in the days prior to her disappearance, one of which said she was coming to pick up a suitcase containing multiple bags of marijuana, part of the 50 pounds Irving was planning to sell to pay legal fees for a drug bust the month prior.
In one message Macculloch asks “are you okay?” and explained to the court he was worried about the deal.
“The last thing my sister told me was that she was going to see Joey,” he said.
She didn't respond to any more messages after April 6, 2010, also the day Irving was alleged to be closing a $100,000 deal with Verma.
When asked to explain a series of messages found on Irving's phone, Macculloch said: “That was just me hoping to God she would answer the phone.”
On April 7, 2010 he called police to report Irving missing. He broke into tears when Currie asked how that made him feel.
“Not good," he said. "My baby sister was gone, how do you think I felt?”
Previously living in Abbotsford, Macculloch moved to Kelowna in March 2010 to help Irving and her ex-husband with a grow operation of 1,500 clone plants. The plan was for him to take over the operation so Irving could go into rehab for her addiction to oxycontin pills.
But in late March police raided their Braeloch Road house. All three were arrested and released on a promise to appear in court. The stress over paying her lawyer was what led Irving to make the April 6th deal with Verma, the Crown alleges.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Alexander Watt emphasized Macculloch's addiction to various narcotics, including heroin, has linked him to various illegal activities and criminal charges. Watt suggested Irving shared a similar lifestyle, but Macculloch disagreed. Irving worked as a registered care aid for seniors homes in Vernon and Rutland, he said.
The seven-week trial continues Monday.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013