Former Mountie’s murder trial moved to Kelowna

Pre-trial publicity and size of Penticton courthouse results in change of venue

A retired Mountie accused of killing his common-law wife in 2011 will have his upcoming trial relocated to Kelowna from Penticton.

Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames granted a change of venue application filed on behalf of Keith Wiens Wednesday, finding that pretrial publicity in Penticton may have tainted the limited jury pool, making it difficult for the defendant to get a fair shake in court.

Wiens allegedly shot and killed his common-law spouse Lynn Kalmring, 55,  in their Penticton home Aug. 16 2011.  Both were longtime residents of the South Okanagan with deep roots in the community, and Kalmring’s death prompted a significant outpouring.

“There was clearly less publicity (in Kelowna),” Beames said, referencing a stack of Penticton-based blog posts, internet-forum musings and newspaper articles that had been printed off by Wiens’ lawyer Neil Skogstad to illustrate cause for the application.

“And the pool of jurors is three times as large.”

Another troublesome detail factored into Beames’s decision was the physical restraints of Penticton’s courthouse.

Current facilities couldn’t accommodate the potentially large pool of prospective jurors if a proceeding called challenge for cause was used, said Beames, suggesting  they may have to be housed in a nearby hotel and individually escorted to the court for their interviews.

Although the Kelowna courthouse may be more accommodating in terms of size, Beames’s decision to grant relocation may create a secondary strain on the system.

Wiens was scheduled for trial June 11, but it’s unclear as of yet whether the local courthouse can accommodate a trial at that time.

Lawyers will meet April 20 to establish the potentially new timeline for the trial, which will either follow the previously established timeline, be shuffled to late summer or early fall.

Wiens, who was in court Wednesday wearing prison-orange, had his bail revoked in January after allegedly violating his bail conditions.

 

Just Posted

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Rollover closes road

No serious injuries reported in a rollover off South Main in Penticton

Raven story shines light at Children’s Showcase

Season opener of the Children’s Showcase in Penticton

Student leadership conference hits home

Nearly 500 Grade 5 students taking part in leadership conference in Penticton

Penticton dancers headed to Germany for world championship

Penticton dancers representing Canada at World Dance Championships

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Have you heard about Black Press scholarships?

Up to 37 scholarships are awarded each year to students throughout British Columbia

Most Read