The investigation into the four murders that occurred in April will still take months, according to Crown counsel.
Penticton came to a standstill on April 15, when John Brittain allegedly shot and killed Rudi Winter at a downtown residence. Brittain then allegedly drove across the city to Cornwall Drive and shot and killed Darlene Knippelberg, Susan Wonch and Barry Wonch—neighbours of his ex-wife.
Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys said he, and co-counsel Colin Forsyth, have provided Brittain’s defence lawyer, Paul McMurray, with a 120-page report outlining the Crown’s case. Vandersluys added they are slowly providing disclosure to McMurray as they go through the police statements.
On Wednesday, in Penticton provincial court, Vandersluys was successful in renewing an earlier order that there be no contact between the accused and his ex-wife (Katherine Brittain).
McMurray appeared on behalf of Brittain and said his client will not be seeking an application for his release. Due to that, he said Brittain would need to be in communication with his ex-wife to deal with ongoing financial matters, even if it was through letters. He argued that despite being divorced, the pair had a strong relationship.
Vandersluys said the institution where Britain is housed can monitor conversations, but often don’t. He added that police also are not at liberty to monitor conversations without proper authorization.
Judge Michelle Daneliuk did not see why the Brittains would have any outstanding financial issues, since they should have been long-resolved as a result of their divorce.
“In the circumstances, noting that you indicated the contact to date has been relatively limited in any event, and given the very forceful submission from Crown counsel, all be that somewhat circumspect, that it is imperative in Crown’s view that to maintain the integrity of the investigation that they not be in communication. I am renewing the order,” said Daneliuk.
Both Crown and defence agreed they need two to three weeks to consider witnesses who might be required and an estimate of how much time would be required for a preliminary inquiry. The matter is adjourned until July 17.
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