January 20, 2016 - 3:00 PM
PENTICTON - Penticton RCMP won’t have to deal with a man well known to the detachment for creating disturbances in the city for at least a year following his video appearance in Penticton court today, Jan. 20.
“You’re incorrigible,” Judge Gregory Koturbash told 66-year-old Gerzson Kovacs. “You have no insight into your offending behaviour. You’ve had many opportunities to change your ways. The community is tired of you. The police are tired of you, people are scared of you, and I have a duty to protect.”
Crown Prosecutor Vern Frolick told court a Penticton RCMP officer pulled over a driver on Jan 5, 2016 on a Penticton street when he heard a man yelling some distance away.
The officer observed a woman trying to get away from Kovacs, who was following her and yelling at her. She approached the officer with Kovacs behind her. The woman was fearful of, and did not know Kovacs. The officer arrested Kovacs after noting his significant impairment and threatening nature.
He arrested Kovacs, who responded with curses, telling the officer, “I hope you die and go straight to hell.”
He was searched and found possessing a small bag of marijuana. Further investigation revealed Kovacs was subject to a probation condition not to drink.
Frolick told court Kovacs was responsible for 75 police contacts in the last year alone, and 275 since he moved to Penticton. He called Kovacs “a social nuisance."
He recited other instances of Kovacs’ drunken public behaviour, including an incident that occurred at Cherry Lane Mall on Sept. 3, 2015, where he threw buns at motorists, cursed and threatened store patrons and pushed a grocery cart down the middle of Atkinson Street until he was apprehended by the police.
Frolick also noted an April, 2014 incident where Kovacs caused a disturbance at a Penticton convenience store by making inappropriate sexual comments, swearing and yelling.
Frolick said Penticton RCMP Const. Don Wrigglesworth, who conducts a foot patrol through Penticton’s downtown core, said he had dealt with Kovacs personally on more than 100 occasions, most recently arresting him for breach of probation on Nov. 30, 2015.
Kovacs is a habitual alcoholic who insisted he would not stop drinking, Frolick said, adding a recent psych assessment on Kovacs found alcoholism to be his primary issue.
Defence lawyer Robert Maxwell said his client knew what he was in jail for. He said Kovacs enjoyed engaging the police and causing trouble, adding Kovacs' problems stemmed mainly from an attitude issue. The psychiatric report recommended an alcohol treatment program, but Kovacs, in spite of having the opportunity, hadn’t taken responsibility for his actions.
He said with Kovacs' insistence on drinking, the only option left to the law was longer incarceration until he "got the message."
“How do you deal with Mr. Kovacs? If he lived on the Lower Mainland, he’d eventually be absorbed into the Eastside,” said Maxwell.
Kovacs spoke on his own behalf, telling Judge Koturbash he considers booze and pot to be medication, which he over prescribes to himself and that gets him into trouble.
He said he thought he was helping the woman in the Jan. 5, 2016 incident, adding he would like to put an ad in a local newspaper with a photo of himself and an apology, when he has enough money.
He offered to leave Penticton, even the country, he said as he blew a kiss from where he appeared in court by video.
Judge Koturbash called Kovacs a repeat customer, whose previous files contained disturbing details. He said he even contemplated banishing Kovacs from Penticton, but realized that would only place the problem into another community.
“You were placed on probation on several instances and you weren’t deterred. You’re content to drink, so the court is committed to sending you to jail,” the judge said.
Kovacs faces two consecutive sentences on two counts of causing a disturbance, both of 180 days. He’ll serve 346 more days after being credited for time served, in addition to paying a $100 victim surcharge.
His psychiatric report will also be released to Mental Health authorities.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016