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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-man Penticton traffic enforcement team catch 188 impaired drivers in 2019

96 of those drivers received 90-day suspensions or criminal charges

Australia Day fundraiser at Penticton’s Slackwater Brewing a success

Money raised at Australia day party donated directly to Victoria Bushfire Relief Fund

Penticton Indian Band stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en

“We’ve lived in this area for 10,000 years, and our knowledge is being disregarded…” - Chad Eneas.

Techstars Penticton took start-ups from ideas to pitches in 54 hours over the weekend

Local businesspeople worked their ideas to present before a panel of judges.

Penticton, Vernon hockey legends to be inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

Vernon’s Eric Brewer and a record-breaking Penticton Vees team will join the HOF July 24

VIDEO: As 106 reported dead from the coronavirus outbreak, countries look to evacuate citizens

Canada is warning its residents to not go to Hubei province at all

Taxi association asks B.C. Supreme Court to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Petition alleges Passenger Transportation Board did not take taxis into account

Morning Start: Wuhan coronavirus vs. SARS

Your morning start for Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Quintet jazzes it up with Okanagan-wide talents

Justin Glibbery group brings twist of jazz and pop

Trans-Canada closed east of Golden due to avalanche hazard

The highway is estimated to reopen around 7 p.m.

Former Hells Angels associate in Kelowna court on gun, drug charges

Former Angels associate Dale Habib appears in Kelowna court

Most Read