May 09, 2013 - 6:09 AM
"HE WAS NOT ON HOLIDAY AT A FIVE-STAR RESORT:" CROWN
A Hell's Angels member due to be sentenced for beating a man in 2010 is now seeking a reduced jail sentence because of tough times in prison while waiting for sentencing.
On November 1, 2010 Joseph Bruce Skreptak and four of his Hell's Angels associates arrived at a teenage boy's residence claiming the boy 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 has been in custody since pleading guilty to charges of aggravated assault. He appeared at the Kelowna Supreme Court this afternoon for sentencing.
His defence lawyer Brian Jackson is requesting Skreptak be given credit for the difficult conditions he's already endured in his last four months in jail.
“He had a hard time in there and it should be taken into consideration,” Jackson says.
Skreptak filed a litany of complaints about unpleasant conditions at both the Salmon Arm and Kamloops correctional facilities. In the list, Skreptak says his jail cell was too cold, he wasn't allowed to shower regularly, he had no pillow, the meals upset his digestion and he couldn't use the outdoor exercise field because it was unsanitary.
Among the complaints, Skreptak notes he was traumatized after witnessing a bloody beating between two men. Crown prosecutor Catherine Fedder noted the irony of the complaint given the brutal nature of Skreptak's own crime.
Fedder reminded the court he was serving time in jail for a serious crime.
“He was not on holiday at a five-star resort,” she says.
Jackson is requesting his client receive one and a half day's credit for each day he was in jail.
“Mr. Skreptak was nothing but a good prisoner and caused no problems,” Jackson says.
However, Fedder says the lack of sound letters of support defending Skreptak's character does not support the reduced sentence. None of the letters acknowledge the brutality of Skreptak's crime or his membership with the Hell's Angels organized crime group.
Justice Allan Betton agreed this makes the letters less convincing, given Hell's Angel's membership bears heavily on one's character.
“His membership in the Hell's Angels is part of the matrix of the offence,” Betton says, adding it would be naive to think affiliation with the gang could have a positive reflection on someone's character.
“It's not something you're going to put on your resume,” Betton says.
Jackson insisted it would be unjust to presume all members of the gang are alike and emphasized his client had no previous criminal record.
But Betton says it's too late for Skreptak to claim he has a good, clean character. He already used his gang status to his advantage in the crime he committed.
Aside from the support of his common-law partner, there has been a lack of public in attendance throughout Skreptak's court proceedings.
Justice Betton postponed today's sentencing to a future date allowing time to make his decision.
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