June 18, 2013 - 6:13 PM
KELOWNA - A self-acknowleged Hell's Angels member from Kelowna was sentenced to two years and two months in prison today. Joseph Bruce Skreptak pleaded guilty to an unprovoked assault on the father of a young boy he suspected of stealing from him.
On November 1, 2010. Skreptak and four of his Hell's Angels associates arrived at the house of a 16-year-old boy, claiming he stole $10,000 worth of jewelry from him. Skreptak then attacked the boy's father, punching the man multiple times in front of his son. Skreptak left the house 20 minutes later. The victim was left bleeding profusely.
Justice Allan Betton described the victim's physical injuries at Skreptak's sentencing today in the Kelowna Supreme Court. Photos show the left side of his face was pushed in with “multiple fractures of facial bones.” Reconstructive surgery left him with metal plates around his eye socket and muscle weakness in his left eye.
In his apology letter, Skreptak, who has a young child of his own, says he believed the boy had stolen the jewelry to pawn for drug money. He says he showed up at the house that morning to give him a chance to confess and to tell his parents what he suspected. He claims the beating was provoked by the victim who became confrontational and started “lipping off.”
Justice Betton says the Crown and accused gave different versions of the incident but says it's clear Skreptak arrived at the residence uninvited, demanding a confession and used his nine-year Hell's Angels' membership as a "tool of intimidation.”
Betton says Skreptak would have been aware his membership with the organization was a known fact.
“No one who is an informed, intelligent individual... such as Mr. Skreptak, can be unaware of the connotation attached to being a member of the Hell's Angels.”
But Betton accepts it's not clear whether the assault itself was an act of intimidation.
A number of “glowing and positive” reference letters about Skreptak's character were also submitted to the court, but they weren't enough to convince the judge. Ultimately, Betton says the accused's behavior lessens the credibility of the letters. Skreptak acted, “more in the form of a vigilante” with a "show of force,” Betton says.
“It is entirely understood the accused would be angry,” Betton says, but he should have gone to the authorities first.
Skreptak was sentenced to 26 months in a provincial detention centre, less 112 days for time already spent in custody. While the accused was seeking one and a half days credit on his jail sentence, Betton says that was time spent out on bail, caused by his own decision to adjourn his trial before finally pleading guilty.
He also has to give a DNA order and comply with a 10-year firearms prohibition.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013