Arraignment for accused in RCMP crash pushed to March

Defence counsel expects to be able to review independent report by next appearance date

The man facing a number of charges in connection with the death of West Shore RCMP officer Const. Sarah Beckett will have his day in court, but it won’t be this month.

Kenneth Jacob Fenton was scheduled to appear in Western Communities provincial court on Thursday for an arraignment hearing, but that appearance has been adjourned until March 9.

Fenton’s lawyer, Dale Marshall, said this will allow him, and his partner Chris Massey, time to review the Independent Investigations Office’s (IIO) report on the crash and the events leading up to it.

“It appears to be … about 4,000 pages,” Marshall noted of the report. Although, he added, there is some duplication of discovery items they have already received.

This latest adjournment marks the fifth time this case has been postponed, allowing defence lawyers time to go through all of the evidence disclosed by Crown counsel.

“We’ve been surprised before, stuff trickles in – sometimes during a trial – but I believe we now have everything Crown has,” Marshall said, noting they should be able to go through all of the documents in the course of the next month.

He added Fenton is expected to enter a formal plea on March 9.

Fenton is facing a number of charges, including impaired driving causing death, failing to stop while being pursued by a peace officer and operating a motor vehicle in a manner dangerous to the public causing death.

Beckett’s police cruiser was struck by a pickup truck at roughly 3:30 a.m. while travelling through the intersection at Goldstream Avenue and Peatt Road in Langford on April 5.