Former councillor to stand trial for murder

MURDER CHARGE: Peter Beckett.
MURDER CHARGE: Peter Beckett.

A former Napier City councillor will finally stand trial almost five years after he was charged with murdering his Canadian wife.

Peter Beckett, 57, was charged after a year-long investigation into his wife's death. It was first thought that Laura Letts-Beckett drowned in a lake near Shelter Bay after falling from a boat in 2010.

Canadian police arrested Beckett, alleging he pushed her off the boat. She could not swim and was not wearing a life jacket.

In 2012 he was further charged with plotting to kill his late wife's parents Park and Beth Letts, police sergeant Terry Jacklin, lawyer Raymond Barlow, and Virginia Lyons-Friesen.

Beckett's trial was delayed last year because he changed his legal representation, Canadian media reported.

He is charged with first-degree murder, counselling to commit murder and obstruction of justice.

Six months has been set aside for a jury trial in the British Columbia Supreme Court. It is expected to begin next January, Canadian news website The Province reported.

Beckett has been filing applications to the court from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre. He alleged that police and court officials were biased, that they had abused the court process and had failed to provide him with documents.

Justice Ian Meiklem has granted Beckett access to most of the documents he was seeking.

Beckett served one term on the Napier City Council from 1998 before moving to Canada, where he worked as a bus driver.

The Dominion Post