The woman charged in a Kelowna, B.C., homicide that was earlier described as a case of “intimate partner violence” has waived her right to a preliminary inquiry and will go straight to trial by judge and jury.
Billie Jo Bennett, 54, will return to Supreme Court Chambers on Monday, Jan. 24 to fix dates for a trial, the BC Prosecution Service said Thursday in an email.
Bennett was charged in early December 2021 with second degree murder, though she was first arrested in the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 18, 2021 homicide in the 600 block of Bechard Road.
She was released the next day when the BC Prosecution Service failed to come up with charges and Supt. Kara Triance called a press conference on Oct. 22 to address questions raised in the wake of the investigation seemingly hitting an impasse.
Read more: Woman charged with murder of Kelowna man
The woman was apprehended under the Mental Health Act shortly thereafter, but, at that point, RCMP officers were cut out of the loop, Triance said.
“So often, it is these systems that we are caught between,” Triance said Oct. 22.
“The police are left between the health-care system, which is burdened by the constraints that it has, and the justice system, where there are a lot of restrictions and increasingly closed doors of remand centres that are full of policies and directives that I believe are important, and modernizing our justice system, but leaving individuals at large in their community.”
This “frustrating situation” is affecting the way RCMP can keep the community safe, she said, eroding the sense of safety for residents.