Accused in Shelter Bay drowning in court

Peter Beckett, 57, is facing charges of first-degree murder, counselling to commit murder and obstructing justice.

  • Feb. 4, 2014 1:00 p.m.

Peter Beckett is facing trial for murder in Kamloops following the drowning of his wife near Shelter Bay.

Kamloops This Week

A former New Zealand politician who, for now, lives behind bars at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre awaiting his first-degree murder trial, was in court this week filing stacks of legal paperwork.

Peter Beckett, 57, is facing charges of first-degree murder, counselling to commit murder and obstructing justice.

The former New Zealand town councillor is alleged to have killed his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett, 50, by pushing her off a boat at Shelter Bay — south of Revelstoke — in 2010.

He was arrested a year later.

In B.C. Supreme Court on Monday, Jan. 27, Beckett filed five disclosure applications.

He is expected to return to court next month for arguments on those applications.

In late 2012, while Beckett was in custody charged with murder, he was charged with the additional counts following an undercover jailhouse investigation by RCMP.

Police allege Beckett plotted to kill five witnesses — including Letts-Beckett’s parents, an RCMP sergeant and an Alberta lawyer — while behind bars.

Beckett and his wife lived north of Edmonton at the time of the incident and are believed to have been in B.C. on vacation.

The drowning was first believed to have been an accident.

A New Zealand native, Beckett served as a town councillor in Napier from 1998 to 2001. Napier is a coastal town of about 58,000 on the east side of New Zealand’s north island, about 300 kilometres from Auckland.

New Zealand media reports describe Beckett as something of a Kiwi Rob Ford, who made headlines for assaulting the captain of a rugby team in a pub and stealing taxpayer-purchased liquor from city meetings.

Most recently, he worked as a school bus driver in Westlock, Alta.

Beckett is due back in court on Feb. 11 to fix a date for his disclosure arguments.

— with files from Black Press

 

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