A man accused of killing his wife in Lake Country, back in June of 2016, will not stand trial.
Lambertus Westervelt was charged with second-degree murder in relation to the death of his wife, Arlene, but this week, Crown counsel stayed the charge.
“After carefully reviewing new information relating to this matter, Crown Counsel determined that the BC Prosecution Service’s charge assessment standard was no longer met,” Alisia Adams, a spokesperson for the BCPS said.
That standard requires the Crown to independently, objectively and fairly measure all available evidence against a two-part test which determines whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction, and if so, whether the public interest requires a prosecution.
“This test continues to apply throughout any prosecution. Where this test is no longer met, it is appropriate for Crown counsel to direct a stay of proceedings,” said Adams.
Lambertus was charged in April 2019, nearly three years after Arlene’s death.
The two had been canoeing on the afternoon of June 26, 2016, when their canoe capsized.
Police said Lambertus was rescued by a passing boater, but Arlene could not be found.
Despite an extensive search of Okanagan Lake by local fire and rescue personnel that evening, Arlene’s body wasn’t recovered until the following day.
She was found in 35 feet of water, approximately 100 feet from the shore, by trained divers with the RCMP underwater recovery team.
At the time, RCMP called Arlene’s death a “tragic accident.”
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