Investigation into Arlene Westervelt’s death remains open | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Investigation into Arlene Westervelt’s death remains open

Arlene Westervelt, 56, died three years ago at the Okanagan Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Le Necrologue
July 20, 2021 - 7:00 AM

It’s been a year since the Crown stayed proceedings in the trial of a Lake Country man accused of killing his wife during a 2016 canoeing trip, meaning that case against Lambertus Westervelt is over.

It does not, however, mean that the matter is closed in the minds of RCMP, or those who loved Arlene Westervelt.

“The investigation into Arlene Westervelt’s death remains open and there is no limitation period on a charge of homicide,” Gordon S Comer with the BC Prosecution Service said in an email today.

“Should the investigation result in evidence, against anyone, that is sufficient to meet the charge assessment standard, Crown Counsel could lay an Information and proceed with a prosecution at that time.”

READ MORE: Civil suit in Westervelt case

Comer said that Section 579 of the Criminal Code, which refers to the 12 month period, merely allows a stayed Information to be recommenced within one year.

“It does not create a limitation date for a homicide charge and would not preclude the Crown from proceeding with a new charge at a later date should further investigation result in recommended charges,” Comer said.

This information he said has been conveyed to the family but given that the investigation remains open the BC Prosecution Service will have no further comment.

Bert Westervelt has maintained his innocence throughout, though friends and family of Arlene have expressed doubts publicly, going so far as to launch civil suits.

One is an estate litigation case against Bert Westervelt.

The claim is based on the equitable legal concept that people should not profit from their misdeeds, including unlawful or dishonourable acts. The lawsuit alleges that Bert was responsible for Arlene’s death and should not be permitted to inherit her assets and therefore profit from his actions.

A civil lawsuit where the case is judged on a balance of probabilities instead of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard required in criminal cases.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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