North Okanagan murder case set back for months | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan murder case set back for months

Howard Everett Krewson leaves the Vernon courthouse in handcuffs following the guilty verdict.
December 02, 2016 - 4:30 PM

VERNON - A North Okanagan murder case won’t conclude until at least next summer.

Howard Everett Krewson, 57, is making a constitutional argument after a jury found him guilty of the second degree murder of his girlfriend, Linda Stewart. Stewart, who also went by the last name of Ross, was a teacher in the Vernon School District.

Krewson was found guilty in September, but his sentence hearing was put off for two months so a pre-sentence report and psychiatric assessment could be done. He was due to be sentenced on Dec. 12, but court heard today, Dec. 2, those reports have still not been received by Crown and defence lawyers.

In addition, Krewson’s lawyer, Donna Turko, is making an application for a constitutional challenge. The challenge has to do with the ‘arbitrariness’ of the jury being asked to consider something, although it was not clear in court what the jury was asked. Turko admitted this particular type of challenge has not been made before to her knowledge, although there is some similar legal precedent.

Due to scheduling difficulties and a lack of courtroom availability at the Vernon courthouse, the matter will not be heard until at least June of 2017. Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole expressed frustration with the delays.

“This is not a good way to run a railroad or a case,” Cole said. “But this man has his rights and one of his rights is to make a constitutional challenge.”

Three days are expected to be finalized later today, Dec. 2, to hear the matter sometime after June 19. Justice Cole has said he will hear the constitutional challenge first. If it fails, he will proceed directly to sentencing, and if it does not, he will need further time to craft a judgement.

The minimum sentence for second degree murder is life in prison with no parole for ten years, but sentences can be as long as life in prison without parole for 25 years.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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