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

Monster Truck action returns to the Okanagan for a second night

From 6 until 7 p.m. you can meet the drivers and get a close up look at the trucks

Second osprey chick dies, Okanagan web cam off

The second chick in an osprey nest featured on the Town of Osoyoos website has died

Fire department helps with body recovery in Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Hespeler had connection to Mennonite migration

Home in Summerland was built in 1907, moved when the highway was changed

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Water quality makes swimming unsafe at three beaches near Salmon Arm

The Adams Lake Indian Band has issued a water qulity notice affecting beaches at three campgrounds.

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Community service ordered for Princeton man who stole from firefighters

A young man who stole food and money from the Princeton Volunteer… Continue reading

Okanagan rainbow crosswalk defaced

Vandals cover colours with white paint in District of Coldstream sometime overnight Saturday

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Most Read