Jury con­sid­ers fate of man ac­cused of drown­ing his wife

The Daily Courier - - KELOWNA - By AN­DREA PEA­COCK

The jury tasked with de­cid­ing whether Peter Beck­ett is guilty of killing his wife is now de­lib­er­at­ing.

Beck­ett is charged with first-de­gree mur­der in the death of his wife Laura Letts-Beck­ett, who drowned in Up­per Ar­row Lake near Revel­stoke dur­ing a camp­ing trip in Au­gust 2010.

Beck­ett is a for­mer city coun­cil­lor in Napier, New Zealand, while Letts-Beck­ett was work­ing as a teacher at Dapp Ele­men­tary School in Al­berta at the time of her death.

The cou­ple lived in the nearby town of West­lock.

Beck­ett was ar­rested and charged with mur­der one year af­ter the in­ci­dent. He has been in cus­tody since.

Last year, Beck­ett was on trial for the same charge in Kam­loops, but it ended in a mis­trial af­ter the jury could not come to a con­sen­sus.

The Kelowna trial be­gan Aug. 21 and wrapped up with clos­ing ar­gu­ments from the Crown on Tues­day.

Justice Ali­son Beames gave her in­struc­tions to the jury that af­ter­noon, and the jury be­gan de­lib­er­at­ing at 4:15 p.m.

Twice dur­ing the three-week trial, de­fence lawyer Mar­i­lyn Sand­ford ap­plied for a mis­trial.

In the first week, Sand­ford took is­sue with the tes­ti­mony of one of the Crown’s wit­nesses, a for­mer cell­mate of Beck­ett’s whose name is pro­tected by a pub­li­ca­tion ban be­cause he was work­ing as a po­lice in­for­mant.

The wit­ness said Beck­ett of­fered to pay him to “take care of wit­nesses.” Then he went on to pro­vide some de­tails about what Beck­ett wanted him to do, in­clud­ing tak­ing wit­nesses out “MVA style” and torch­ing the house of Letts-Beck­ett’s par­ents.

Beames did not grant the ap­pli­ca­tion for a mis­trial, but she did or­der the jury to dis­re­gard the com­ments about the MVA style and the torch­ing of the home.

The next week, af­ter the Crown fin­ished its case, Sand­ford filed an­other ap­pli­ca­tion for a di­rected ver­dict, re­quest­ing the dis­missal of the case be­cause of a lack of ev­i­dence.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was dis­missed and the trial con­tin­ued.

The Crown ar­gues Beck­ett took his wife to a se­cluded cove on Up­per Ar­row Lake to push her into the wa­ter and kill her so he could cash in her life in­sur­ance pol­icy and get at her in­her­i­tance.

Beck­ett, who pleaded not guilty to the mur­der charge, says Letts-Beck­ett either fell in ac­ci­den­tally or slipped into the wa­ter on pur­pose.

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