PENTICTON - A Penticton man described as experiencing a “methamphetamine-induced psychosis” during an incident at Cherry Lane Mall earlier this year will spend another 143 days in jail after being sentenced in Penticton Provincial Court this morning.
Danny Ross entered guilty pleas last week to charges of causing a disturbance, possession of a controlled substance, assault, possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose and resisting arrest. He was sentenced today, April 18, by Judge Gale Sinclair.
Crown Prosecutor Nashina Devji said Ross was released on bail following two incidents of disturbing the peace on Dec. 17 and 26, 2015, when he was committed to the psychiatric ward at Penticton Regional Hospital on Dec. 29. Ross escaped the facility by climbing a fence on Dec. 31 becoming the subject of an apprehension warrant when police were called to a disturbance and assault at Cherry Lane Mall on Jan. 3, 2016.
A witness told police a 79-year-old man had been struck in the head in an unprovoked attack by Ross, who was later found by police in an alcove in the northwest corner of the mall.
Ross refused to comply with the officer's orders to drop a pair of separated scissors, continuing his menacing behaviour until the officer drew his weapon.
A second police officer who arrived on scene also found himself threatened and eventually Tasered Ross at least three times, in one instance delivering a five-second shock cycle. Police were able to subdue Ross, but it he remained uncooperative and the shocks seemed to be ineffective, court was told.
Devji said a statement by the first officer to find Ross indicated he would probably have shot Ross had the second officer not appeared, due to Ross’ threatening behaviour and lack of compliance. The officer also said he had “never been this close to shooting someone before.”
Devji said Ross lacked insight and understanding of what he had done, adding he had done nothing to resolve his heavy drug use.
Defence lawyer Norm Yates said it was quite apparent his client had a serious addiction issue, adding Ross was so drug-addled and sleep deprived the day of the incident, "he didn’t know if he was coming or going."
He said his client was a “completely different man today,” adding the 31-year-old Ross’ life really went off the rails in 2013.
Ross, appearing by video, told Judge Sinclair he was sorry and embarrassed for what he’d done, expressing his thankfulness his victim wasn’t seriously hurt. He said he didn’t realize the police officer had felt that threatened by his behaviour.
Judge Sinclair noted Ross’ random attack was even more serious because it was random and unpredictable.
“It’s not good behaviour. Methamphetamine-induced psychosis makes you psychotic. Why you would take that and turn from a rational young man to an idiot is beyond me,” said Judge Sinclair, adding Ross’ future would be an “early death or in and out of jail all your life, or both,” if he didn’t control his drug use.
Judge Sinclair handed Ross a sentence of 302 days in jail. With time served, he has 143 days left to serve, after which he’ll be on probation for two years with a number of conditions including staying clear of Cherry Lane Mall, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, accepting addiction treatment and a 10-year firearms ban.
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