Trial for man charged with murder in wife's drowning death to take place in Kelowna - InfoNews

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Trial for man charged with murder in wife's drowning death to take place in Kelowna

May 26, 2017 - 1:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - Defence lawyers are arguing a New Zealand man's murder charge should be dropped due to unreasonable delay ahead of his scheduled trial in Kelowna.

Peter Beckett is facing one count of first-degree murder in the drowning death of his wife Laura Letts-Beckett in August 2010 at Upper Arrow Lake near Revelstoke.

Beckett's lawyers Marilyn Sandford and Alix Tolliday are in the midst of an application in Kamloops Supreme Court to have Beckett's charge dropped due to delay.

Beckett was charged with Letts-Beckett's murder nearly one year after her death, in August 2011. In a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision, changes were made to rules surrounding accused persons being tried within a reasonable amount of time.

An accused person facing trial in Supreme Court should be tried within 30 months of the original charge being laid, according to the high court's decision. Beckett's defence lawyers need to show the delays in his case aren't the fault of the defence.

Beckett has been in custody for nearly six years and has already faced trial once in Kamloops. The jury in that trial was unable to reach a verdict.

His lawyers had previously applied for a venue change for Beckett's new trial, but it was denied in October 2016. Earlier this month, a new application for a venue change to Kelowna was granted and his trial is scheduled for Aug. 21.

Tolliday began her arguments for the delay application in Kamloops Supreme Court earlier this week, and Sandford says the application is expected to wrap up next week.

Kelowna Supreme Court judge Alison Beames is hearing the application.

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