Former Kelowna officer elects to have judge-alone trial

Former cop closer to trial

A former Kelowna RCMP officer who's facing seven criminal charges appears ready to head to trial.

Brian Burkett was charged last July with seven counts of breach of trust by a public officer for incidents dating back to 2015 and 2016. The Crown alleges Burkett pursued a sexual relationship with several people in connection with his duties as an officer in Kelowna.

Burkett quit the RCMP in August 2017, after he had been suspended with pay in light of the allegations.

On Tuesday, Burkett's lawyer Wade Jenson elected to have a judge-alone trial in BC Supreme Court. Before the case is sent to Supreme Court, a preliminary inquiry will be held, where the Crown's evidence will be tested and a judge will determine if the case is strong enough to move to a Supreme Court trial.

A preliminary inquiry can only be held for cases where the possible sentence can be 14 years or more. Each count of breach of trust by a public officer carries a maximum sentence of five years.

Burkett is not currently in custody. His case will be back in Kelowna court next week, to schedule future preliminary inquiry dates.

In addition to the criminal charges he faces, Burkett is also facing three civil lawsuits. One suit, filed in January, alleges Burkett sexually harassed a woman while he was an officer in Duncan in 2012.

Another, filed in December, alleges he sexually harassed a woman in Kelowna in the fall of 2016, going so far as to break into her home with other officers and detain her.

Last October, the first civil suit was filed against Burkett, alleging he demanded explicit photos from a woman after she had contacted the Kelowna RCMP's non emergency line.

None of the allegations against Burkett has been proven in court.

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