"I HAD RIGHTS UNDER THE MENTAL HEALTH ACT AND THEY WERE VIOLATED."
KAMLOOPS - A former psychiatric nurse accused of stealing a truck in Kamloops is now arguing he was entrapped by RCMP.
Jonathan Phillips, 40, represented himself in Kamloops Supreme Court today, Aug. 19, for what was slated to be his sentencing hearing.
A jury found him guilty of break and enter, possession of stolen property over $5,000, fleeing from police and dangerous operation of a vehicle.
Instead of sentencing, Phillips filed an application for a hearing to argue RCMP left him with no other options but to break the law so he could be treated with respect.
The accused says he had been living in the garage of his parents' townhouse complex on Columbia Street, and was growing frustrated with his living situation. Phillips said he expressed his frustration to his parents and left the home. His mother and father then called the police.
Once RCMP arrived, Phillips said after an officer questioned both his parents and himself, he was told he could either be arrested for uttering threats or arrested under the mental health act.
"I knew immediately... he was railroading me," Phillips told the court.
He argued being presented with options for an arrest wasn't fair to him, but he opted to be taken under the mental health act.
He was taken to a psychiatrist, who Phillips claims performed an invalid mental health assessment. He told the court RCMP officers came in and forced him to take medication.
"They put me into a chemical coma," Phillips said. "I had rights under the mental health act and they were violated."
Phillips was eventually released from a psychiatric unit, but a week later he was in more trouble with the law.
He told the court that he went into his tenant's basement suite to flip a breaker switch. The tenant thought Phillips was an intruder and called 9-1-1.
Phillips said he was scared he was going to end back up in the psychiatric unit, so he took off.
The police were looking for him for a few days, Phillips said. He ended up going into a grocery store to use the telephone to turn himself in.
The accused told the court RCMP attended the store and arrested Phillips for breaking into his own home.
"They used it as a guise to mistreat me."
Phillips argued he should have been allowed to choose to go to jail instead of back to the psychiatric unit, but he was never given that opportunity.
"A person shouldn't be put in the position of having to go to jail instead of getting mental health treatment," Phillips said.
Phillips argued he was treated with more respect at Kamloops Regional Correction Centre than he was in hospital. He said he had no choice but to steal the truck so he wouldn't end up back in the psychiatric unit.
Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo says Phillips's argument not only didn't relate to the incident at hand, but didn't fall under the defence of police entrapment.
"Police actually have to do something to induce a person to commit an offence," Caputo told the court. "It's a fairly high bar to meet... nobody gave him the keys to the vehicle."
Caputo compared it to the recent case of John Nuttall and Amanda Korody, who were acquitted of terrorism charges after it was proved RCMP manipulated them into planning a bombing.
A Kamloops Supreme Court judge is expected to decide next month whether Phillips will get an entrapment hearing.
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