Penticton’s courthouse won’t play host to the trial of a man accused of an April 2019 shooting spree that left four city residents dead.
Instead, the four-week trial of John Brittain on four charges of murder will be heard by a judge alone in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna, beginning Oct. 5, according to BC Prosecution Service spokesman Dan McLaughlin.
McLaughlin confirmed Brittain applied for the change of venue, but said details are covered by a publication ban.
According to the criminal code, judges can grant a change of venue “to promote a fair and efficient trial” and “to ensure the safety and security of a victim or witness.”
Although a judge alone will decide Brittain’s fate, venue changes are most commonly granted in cases that have been the subject of intense news coverage that would make it difficult to find jurors who hadn’t already formed opinions of the accused.
Other high-profile cases have been moved from Penticton to Kelowna, though, due to scheduling and security reasons. Kelowna’s courthouse has received millions of dollars’ worth of renovations in recent years to improve security.
Brittain, a former city engineer, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in connection with the shooting spree, which included two locations. All the victims were neighbours of Brittain’s ex-wife, Kathy.