Jury begins deliberating Beckett trial

A jury has begun deciding the fate of Peter Beckett, a New Zealand man on trial in Kelowna for the first-degree murder of his wife.

Laura Letts-Beckett drowned in Upper Arrow Lake near Revelstoke in August 2010 when she and Beckett were boating on a zodiac boat. 

Beckett was charged in her death a year after she died, with the crown arguing that Beckett pushed his wife into the water to cash in on an accidental death insurance policy that he opened months before.

During final submissions, the crown said Beckett’s statement to police on the day Letts-Beckett drowned was the most important piece of evidence.

Beckett told officers he first reeled in his fishing rod before helping his wife who had fallen into the water because of a “fisherman’s instinct.”

“Mr. Beckett’s fisherman instinct is a lie,” Crown prosecutor Iain Currie told the jury “Mr. Beckett tells you that when his wife goes in the water his instinct is to turn away from her.”

Currie argued that the boat would have kept moving, away from Letts-Beckett, as Beckett reeled in his fishing rob.

“How do you resist the temptation, how do you resist the urge rather, the instinct, to throw your wife a life jacket?” Currie asked the jury “He wasn’t resisting a urge because he didn’t have the urge because his wife didn’t fall in unexpectedly, his wife fell in because he pushed her.”

Currie also said there were discrepancies and lies in Beckett’s account of how he finally pulled his wife out of the water.  

The crown also argued that testimony from some witnesses proves Beckett's guilt, including a former cellmate who said Beckett wanted him to get rid of some witnesses and a friend who said Beckett asked him if Google Maps would've recorded what happened at the lake.

The defence gave its final submissions on Monday, arguing that there is no proof of foul play and that all the evidence is circumstantial.

During the trial, the defence had actually applied for a mistrial because of testimony given by one witness and made on application for directive verdict due to a lack of evidence, but Justice Alison Beames dismissed both applications, which were under a publication ban until the jury was sequestered.

This is Beckett’s second trial, after the jury in his first trial in Kamloops failed to reach a decision.

Beckett was a city councillor in Napier, New Zealand for one-term in the 90's and has been in custody since his arrest.