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Crown drops breach charges against convicted murderer Wiens
A breach of conditions charge against convicted murderer Keith Wiens has been dropped.
“This is a slap in the face. He complains long enough and then they do this?” said Donna Irwin, sister of the his victim, Lynn Kalmring.
Wiens was arrested Aug. 16, 2011 in the common-law couple’s Penticton home. Days later he was permitted bail with a list of conditions to abide by, including having his brother reside with him in Penticton. RCMP arrested him in January 2012 for allegedly not complying with that term, putting him back in jail.
Wiens has been fighting the breach of conditions charge from behind bars at a federal penitentiary after being sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years for the second-degree murder of Kalmring. Over the past two years Wiens has made a number of applications. During his last court appearance, Wiens told the court he intended to file a Charter of Rights complaint, and request that Crown counsellor John Swanson be removed from the case. He has also filed an official complaint with the B.C. Law Society.
Crown counsel spokesperson Neil Mackenzie said they are not pursuing the charges anymore out of public interest.
“We are taking into account a couple of factors. Bail was revoked on the murder charges and he was subsequently held in custody. He is now convicted and serving a life sentence. Even if he was convicted of a breach offence it would be concurrent to the life sentence. Taking into account the various factors, we concluded that the breach of conditions charge was not required,” said Mackenzie.
Wiens, a former RCMP officer, also has put forward an appeal on the murder conviction, arguing his sentence is excessive among other things. Irwin said lawyers told her last week Wiens is still pursuing the appeal.
“He shot my sister in the face and killed her and he thinks his sentence is excessive? When will this be over?” said Irwin.
It was only within the last few weeks that Kalmring’s family received access to the home she was murdered in. Irwin said they have been fighting for years to get in to the house to gather her sister’s things.
“Lynn’s daughter finally got to go inside there. It was pretty hard for her. Everything was cleaned out of the kitchen drawers but one of them. Inside that one was a Mother’s Day gift bag. I said it was probably a sign Lynn was there with her,” said Irwin, who has an ongoing civil suit against Wiens.
Kalmring’s family continues to fight for improved victims’ rights since her murder. They petitioned for Lynn’s Law, which calls for new restrictions on bail for violent crimes and other charges.
“I don’t think this will ever be over, not just for us either. There are a lot of other people and families going through this. I think we need to have a bigger say. Every time (Wiens) appears in court it is like getting victimized over and over again,” said Irwin.
“We need to keep fighting in the public eye because if we don’t it will just disappear.”
Irwin said she has been working with a number of charities including the B.C. Homicide Society hoping to brainstorm ideas to take to the justice minister and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.