November 18, 2013 - 12:12 PM
PENTICTON - Defence and Crown attorneys want convicted sex offender David Wesley Bobbitt to be sentenced in Penticton—not Kelowna.
Defence lawyer James Pennington and Crown prosecutors Vern Frolick and Deb Drissell agreed they want to keep the case at home. The lawyers were responding to security concerns raised earlier by Penticton Sheriff Tracey Biro who said his office has only five staff to look after three courtrooms, a prisoner holding area, transportation of inmates and a possible security checkpoint for Bobbitt's sentencing hearing.
Drissell, Frolick and Pennington argued their points with Kelowna Supreme Court Justice Geoff Barrow over the phone at Penticton Law Courts today.
Pennington said the community deserves to see the case completed in the city. Bobbitt's crimes were brutal ones made against a young mother in 2011.
During one of Bobbitt's earlier appearances, angry people in the court room made threats against the accused who has pled guilty to aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, assault with a weapon, two counts of unlawful confinement and two counts of making threats.
The sheriff was concerned Bobbitt or the public could be in danger if the convicted man was led through the hallways to the courtroom but the defence pointed out other options.
Pennington said there is a non-public staircase on the first floor leading to the second floor Supreme Court rooms. The session could also be held in room 100 on the first floor. A prisoner can be led into the prisoner's box there from the holding area without having to enter the halls.
Drissell said the dangerous offender portion of the sentencing, a sort of trial onto itself, will have an "extremely fragile witness."
The Crown lawyer said it was difficult to get this woman to testify for the dangerous offender hearing and if the case is moved the woman would be out of "her comfort zone" and probably not make an appearance.
The witness is a woman in her 40s who made sexual assault and confinement allegations against Bobbitt in 2007 but no charges were ever laid.
Discussion over security and keeping the case in Penticton will resume with Barrow on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
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