Court case of accused in death of Mountie delayed for 3 weeks

A court appearance for the man charged with impaired driving in connection with the death of West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett has been adjourned until April 6.

It will be one year and one day since the 32-year-old mother of two died after her RCMP cruiser was struck by a pickup truck at Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue in Langford.

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Kenneth Jacob Fenton, 28, is charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, flight from police causing death, driving with blood alcohol over .08, and refusing to provide a blood sample.

He was to appear in Western Communities provincial court today.

On Wednesday, however, defence lawyer Dale Marshall said the appearance has been adjourned for three weeks.

Marshall said he and his partner, Chris Massey, have reviewed the file.

“We’ve made a suggestion to Crown how to proceed on the file,” Marshall said. “They are reviewing the file and they need time to do that.”

Fenton was charged in mid September. There have been at least five adjournments in the case since then.

He can choose to be tried in B.C. Supreme Court by judge alone or by judge and jury, or in provincial court.

If Fenton chooses to be tried in provincial court, he must enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty at his next court appearance.

It’s not known whether a West Shore RCMP officer will face charges in connection with the fatal crash.

In February, the Independent Investigations Office said it had filed a report to Crown counsel “for consideration of charges” against a police officer.

According to their statement, another RCMP officer tried to pull over the pickup truck before the collision. The driver of the truck did not stop and collided with Beckett’s police car in the intersection, killing her.

The IIO said its investigation focused on the actions of that RCMP officer, the circumstances surrounding the collision and the subsequent information provided to the RCMP by the officer.

After reviewing the investigation, the office’s chief civilian director forwarded a report to the Crown.

“This is required when the director considers that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment,” the IIO statement said.

Jurisdiction over charge assessment and charge approval rests with the Criminal Justice Branch.

When a decision is reached, the Criminal Justice Branch will make a public statement on its conclusion, said spokesman Dan McLaughlin.

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