May 07, 2013 - 3:41 PM
A Kelowna man caught watching women undress on two separate occasions is being considered a high-risk to reoffend at his sentencing hearing.
Daniel Robert Ashton was first found peering at a woman and her two daughters in the family change room at Parkinson Recreation Centre. A few months later he was caught crouched in front of a basement window watching a woman get dressed.
Ashton pleaded guilty to the first offence. A staff member at the rec centre caught Ashton standing on a bench peering down into a neighbouring cubicle. Ashton claimed he was trying to keep his socks from getting wet. He told the staff member, "it's not what it looks like."
Just the day before, a woman at the centre complained that a man was peering at her and her half-dressed daughters while in their changing cubicle, and then proceeded to stare at them through a crack in the door. A surveillance video confirmed Ashton matched the complainant's description.
Prosecutor Duncan Campbell told Kelowna Provincial Court judge Anne Wallace today that Ashton tried to brush off his crimes at the time. He showed no shame for his behaviour, and made emphatic claims he was not sexually attracted to children. Campbell also told the court Ashton is at high risk to re-offend, according to a psychiatric assessment.
At the time of the second offence, Ashton was caught trespassing on a fenced private property. He was confronted by the woman's husband and claimed he was tying his shoes. He also said he was in the market for rental housing and was checking out the property.
During a psychiatric analysis, Ashton said he was probably looking for a cheap thrill and while he had no intention to spy on the woman it could have been a subconscious impulse.
Defence lawyer Blaine Weststrate says his client was in a state of emotional distress when the incidents occured. He had recently lost a friend to suicide. Ashton also claims to have been taking Tylenol Three prior to the second incident and was feeling out of touch with reality.
Weststrate says his client is now willing to go through whatever counselling necessary to ensure he doesn't re-offend.
The Crown is requesting a conditional sentence followed by a period of probation between 18 months and two years and also requiring him to complete a sexual offender program.
Judge Wallace postponed today's sentence allow an evaluation on how Ashton's First Nation's heritage played a factor in the quality of his upbringing. Weststrate told the court today Ashton was raised fatherless, in the primary care of his grandmother and had an alcoholic, abusive mother.
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