PENTICTON - A man apprehended by Penticton RCMP outside the Penticton Wal-Mart under suspicious circumstances will remain in custody following a hearing in Penticton court yesterday, Feb. 15.
Crown Prosecutor Karla Dodds told court James Walter Wilson was in breach of parole conditions when Penticton RCMP surrounded him after finding him in a stolen van in the Penticton Wal-Mart parking lot on Jan. 27, 2016.
Wilson was still subject to a two year probation order to report regularly to his bail supervisor at the time of his arrest, but had not reported since Oct. 30, 2014. His bail supervisor had taken several steps to contact him at that time, but was unable to.
Dodds told Judge Philip Seagram the Wal-Mart loss prevention officer notified Penticton RCMP on Jan. 27 of a suspicious person driving a van in the Wal-Mart parking lot. On arrival, police ascertained the van had been reported stolen from a Calgary address two days prior.
Police monitored the van until Wilson returned, arresting him as he climbed into the driver’s seat after accessing the vehicle using a remote fob.
A search of Wilson revealed a wallet containing cheques belonging to other people. There was also a debit card and several Mastercards in the billfold. Police also found a small amount of methamphetamine.
Dodds told court Wilson’s prior offences also included probationary breaches in the past, noting it appeared he left the region for a period of time when he stopped reporting to his bail supervisor. She argued against his release on bail.
Defence lawyer Robert Maxwell told court Wilson had no assets and did not have a lot of cash. He said the 37-year-old was a heavy equipment operator who had a potential job with a gravel pit operator on the Penticton Indian Reserve.
Maxwell said Wilson borrowed the van and the wallet from a friend when arrested.
Wilson at one point in the proceedings attempted to explain why he had the credit cards in his possession in an unsolicited outburst, prompting admonishment from his lawyer.
“There’s no point in my knitting your scarf if you’re just going to unravel it," Maxwell said. "Be quiet.”
Maxwell said his client had gone to Alberta to work and was planning to report back to his bail supervisor once back in B.C., arguing for house arrest for his client so he could take the job.
Judge Seagram said while Wilson’s record wasn’t the worst he’d seen, it was significant that he had been in court frequently since 2012 for impaired driving, possession of a controlled substance, uttering threats and possession of stolen property. He also had three convictions for prior breaches of probation, calling Wilson’s explanation of events in the most recent incident “thin.” He also noted Wilson did not "jump at the chance" to get back on probation upon his arrival back in the valley.
Seagram denied Wilson bail. His next court appearance is Feb. 17 at 10:30 a.m. He faces charges of theft over and under $5,000 and possession of a controlled substance.
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