Time may become a crucial factor in the court case involving a fatal boat crash in 2010 on Shuswap Lake.
During a pretrial conference last week, Ken Walker, defence lawyer for the accused, Leon Michael Reinbrecht, said he might apply to have the charges thrown out because of time delays.
Reinbrecht stands charged with criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, following the crash in Magna Bay on July 3, 2010 that left an 18-foot Campion Runabout speedboat fully embedded inside the cabin of a houseboat. The owner and operator of the houseboat, 53-year-old Kenneth William (Kenny) Brown of Chase, was killed in the crash. Eight other people were taken to hospital in Kamloops, where two remained for treatment and six were released the next day. The crash took place as boats were leaving the bay following the annual Canada Day weekend fireworks display.
Crown counsel Don Mann confirms that at the pretrial conference, defence counsel indicated “they may be bringing a charter application related to that (time delays)… They were just advising us and the court.”
Reinbrecht was charged in December 2011 following a 17-month investigation carried out by the Chase RCMP detachment with the assistance of investigators from Transport Canada and the BC Coroners Service. The decision regarding charges took 17 months because of the copious quantities of evidence to sift through, police said.
More recently, the trial date was pushed back from September of this year until January of next in order for the defendant to try to secure legal aid funding. If an application under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is made to drop the charges, both sides would present their arguments and evidence regarding the delays and a judge would be asked to decide. The trial is set for Jan. 6, 2014.