Penticton & South Okanagan News
Wiens makes breach appearance
Keith Wiens continues to deal with a breach charge from behind bars at the Kent Institution.
On Wednesday, Wiens who is serving a life sentence for shooting his common law wife Lynn Kalmring, made an appearance by video in Penticton court, regarding an application for legal counsel on the breach matter.
Wiens, who is currently representing himself, told Judge Gregory Koturbash the matter is a two and a half year old breach charge, happening when he is already doing life for murder.
The matter, he described as trivial, lay dormant, but as soon as he appealed his murder conviction, the charge came back to life.
As the case proceeded in late 2013 and early this year, he claims crown counsel John Swanson initially told him it was a serious matter and he should get legal counsel.
He started an application for counsel, but was then told by Swanson at a court appearance in January, it was a simple case and he didn't need a lawyer.
Based on that, he was planning to represent himself, until just recently when Wiens claimed he received a letter from Swanson stating the seriousness of the matter.
"By this time I was pretty confused," he said. "At the last court date Swanson said it would be simple, so I abandoned the application, and now he has this two page letter. I hope I'm giving you a little bit of a picture, as soon as I abandon the application, along comes Swanson with hammer and nails to put me back up on the cross."
At this point, Koturbash asked Wiens if he wanted a lawyer or not.
When Wiens did not provide a clear answer. the judge said "it's not a tough question, I just need to know whether you want a lawyer. To which, Wiens responded, "yes, I guess so."
Koturbash said Wiens should return in 30 days to see where things are at with the application.
If he comes back with it showing there was no effort to get a lawyer, the matter will be set down for trial, without legal counsel.
Swanson denied the allegations.
Wiens had been released on a recognizance of bail on Aug. 30, 2011 with various conditions after he was charged with the Aug. 16, 2011 death of Kalmring.
He was ordered to live with his brother, but the brother moved away in October. The Penticton RCMP subsequently made the arrest for the breach, and Wiens has been in custody since.
Wiens was found guilty in July of the second degree murder of Kalmring, and is now fighting his conviction.
According to Swanson, Wiens can apply for bail pending the appeal on the murder conviction. The fact he is facing the charge of breach is one factor the judge could consider.
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