Former New Zealand politician won't face third murder trial for death of wife | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former New Zealand politician won't face third murder trial for death of wife

Peter Beckett, born 1961, in an old photo from his days as a city councilor in New Zealand.
Image Credit: New Zealand Herald (with permission)
January 06, 2021 - 6:30 AM

A former New Zealand politician who faced two murder trials relating to the 2010 death of his wife could soon close this chapter of his life and walk away a free man.

Peter Beckett was convicted in 2017 of the first degree murder of his wife, Laura Letts Beckett while they were on a vacation at Upper Arrow Lake near Revelstoke. This conviction came a year after another trial on the matter that ended in a hung jury.

In 2020, Beckett successfully petitioned the Court of Appeal to overturn that guilty verdict based on mistakes the judge made in instructing jurors and that the prosecutor made improper submissions to the jury.

That left the BC Prosecution Service to decide whether it would try Beckett on the matter for a third time. In recent weeks it decided it would not.

Instead, the BC Prosecution Service has filed with the Supreme Court of Canada an application for leave to appeal the BC Court of Appeal decision which overturned the conviction and ordered a new trial, Gordon S Comer, Crown Counsel

“However, if we are not granted leave, or if we are granted leave but are unsuccessful at the Supreme Court of Canada, we will not be initiating a third trial,” Comer said.

Beckett recently made bail but he had been incarcerated since 2011.

In both trials, jurors were told by Crown that Beckett was motivated by greed when he pushed his wife from the boat they shared while in a secluded bay and sat idly by as she struggled to stay afloat, and eventually succumbed to the water.

He didn’t testify in his 2017 Kelowna trial, but the year earlier, in Kamloops, he made a bit of a spectacle of himself

According to a Vancouver Province story written in the aftermath of the Kamloops trial, Beckett claimed multiple times in the jury’s absence that his lineage had been traced back to St. Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury in the 12th century.

On another occasion, he performed a brief Maori haka and referenced New Zealand folklore.

“Today, I am Rongokako of Te Mata,” he said. “Google it.”

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