No contact order approved between accused Penticton killer and his ex-wife

John Brittain is accused of shooting and killing his ex-wife’s neighbours

A judge has approved a no communication order between the man accused of fatally shooting four people in Penticton and his ex-wife.

John Brittain is accused of shooting and killing his ex-wife’s neighbours — Darlene Knippelberg, Susan and Barry Wonch and Rudi Winter — in April. He appeared at the courthouse via video from the Okanagan Correctional Institution on Friday.

READ MORE: Penticton man charged with murder makes short tense court appearance

Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys said the reasoning behind the order is to not risk the integrity of the investigation, as well as the potential that the ex-wife is called as a witness.

The family of one of the four that were shot wept in the gallery as Brittain’s defence lawyer, Paul McMurray, made his argument against the order. McMurray said he had already advised and cautioned the ex-spouse that she could potentially be called as a witness. However, Brittain and his ex-wife have already had contact since he has been in jail.

READ MORE: Penticton mayor recounts accused shooter’s time working at city

“They were in a close relationship, apart from living separate and apart, but they were supportive of each other and they still are supportive of each other. Mrs. (Katherine) Brittain has relayed to me that she is isolated, she’s somewhat of a prisoner in her own home. She has no support in the community and she does have limited contact with Mr. Brittain. He has corresponded with her,” said McMurray, who added that he believes they have had one telephone conversation.

READ MORE: Friend of man accused of killing four people in Penticton in ‘absolute shock’

McMurray said the risk to the integrity of the investigation is minimal and that any contact whether telephone, letters, or visitation at the jail (which would be via video link and not face-to-face) would be monitored “under a microscope.” He suggested that RCMP could step up the monitoring if required, but the communication between the ex-spouses is purely for emotional support.

Judge Gregory Koturbash said he did not agree that RCMP would be able to step up monitoring or that the type of stringent over-seeing that defence suggested would be sufficient to ensure the integrity of the investigation.

“I am not entirely confident that monitoring can effectively take place. There was a recent case here in this area, a case where Mr. (Ronald) Teneycke, he was able to send a letter to his victim despite being a declared a dangerous offender and being ordered not to have contact with the victim. So he was able to communicate with him while he was in jail,” said Koturbash.

READ MORE: Administrative error results in do-over for South Okanagan dangerous offender’s trial

Koturbash included in his decision to approve the order that the court should check in with the Crown at each stage to verify that it still needs to be in place.

Brittain will be back in court on the four murder charges on June 26, where it is expected that Crown will provide disclosure to the defence.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

On second toke, Penticton council changes its mind on cannabis store

Council members heard a presentation from Starbuds co-founder

Craft breweries showcased during Penticton Beer Week

To celebrate, all seven of the city’s breweries will be collaborating on a limited release draft

Reason to Smile: Tim Hortons cookie campaign benefits school breakfast program

The smile cookie campaign runs Sept. 13 - 22 at participating Tim Hortons from Summerland to Osoyoos

Death race runners to artists, popular Penticton speaker series has it all

The Pecha Kucha Penticton series returns with the theme of: We Made It

Affordable housing project in Okanagan Falls ready for tenants

South Skaha Place now accepting applications for affordable housing units

‘It’s almost surreal’: Penticton fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Auntie Says: Even good kids make mistakes

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Okanagan ski racer chosen for grant in end game

Makena Kersey, 18, has called it a career following a gruesome leg injury, but story inspires grant

Most Read