Charges for co-accused in West Kelowna fentanyl case dropped | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Charges for co-accused in West Kelowna fentanyl case dropped

Rebekka Rae White's charges in connection with Leslie McCulloch's drug dealing have been dropped.
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April 30, 2019 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - Rebekka Rae White says she's been fighting for her Charter rights for over three years; last week, she won her battle in court.

White, along with Leslie McCulloch, was arrested in March 2016 when police raided a West Kelowna warehouse and found a chemical mixer, 1,300 fake Percocet and OxyContin pills, and 195 grams of what was suspected to be fentanyl. McCulloch pled guilty to production and possession of a controlled substance charges in early 2017 and was released on $15,000 bail.

According to White, part of McCulloch's plea deal included a guarantee that her charges would be stayed. Although McCulloch tried to retract his guilty plea in February 2018, he was set for sentencing in January 2019. Instead, McCulloch skipped the court date and went on the run, leaving White in legal limbo.

White said without McCulloch present to receive his sentence, Crown counsel retracted its stay-of-proceedings offer and reinstated the charges against her. For the last two years she's bounced from court date to court date as little to no progress has been made in her case. She was arrested three years ago and has yet to go to trial.

White said the delays were a clear violation of the Jordan decision, a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that states provincial court cases must move from the initial charges to trial within 18 months. If a case pushes past this ceiling, the charges against the accused could be dropped.

At three years, White's case is well beyond the Jordan limit, but she says she's struggled to have her voice heard in court. She said she finally decided to reach out to a new lawyer and pay $12,000 to have him look at her case. She said he immediately put in a Jordan application at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.

According to White, she was brought to Kelowna court on April 24 after this application was submitted and the charges against her were stayed. She estimates it would have cost her $30,000 to go through with the application in Ottawa.

"I can move on with my life," she said. "I had to fight tooth and nail for my Charter rights."

McCulloch was arrested a few days after White's court date, which she said was a weird coincidence. She said she plans to follow his case as it unfolds.

"I'm not going to turn my back on him," she said.

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