February 01, 2016 - 6:04 PM
PENTICTON - A Penticton judge, poised to send a strong message to Penticton criminals today, Feb. 1, looked to Crown Counsel for evidence of increasing incidents of crime in the city, but failed to get it.
Judge Gregory Koturbash said he was aware of a perception of increased crime in Penticton and sought added information from Crown to justify harsher penalties for the city’s habitual offenders.
The request for more information came at a sentencing hearing for Jeffery James Pelly, who pleaded guilty this morning to numerous charges, including theft under $5,000, possession of a controlled substance, breach, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest.
Pelly was also subject of some media notoriety after being arrested a couple of hours after receiving bail on Dec. 29, 2015.
Calling Penticton a “community under siege” Judge Koturbash said he wanted to address the issue of increased crime in the community. He called for court to stand down this morning to allow time for Crown to review the case before him, but Crown Prosecutor Vern Frolick said upon reconvening Crown did not have evidence to conclude crime is increasing in Penticton. He said it appeared to be nothing more than a “serious issue in the community.”
Defence lawyer James Pennington asked rhetorically: “How do we get to that conclusion?” answering, “Constant reporting in the media.”
Judge Koturbash said he was struggling with the issue, stating he reads the news and noted daily stories about break and enters in Penticton.
He adjourned his decision until tomorrow, February 2.
At the Jan. 21 Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board meeting, Penticton RCMP Superintendent Kevin Hewco delivered his fourth quarter report to the board, informing them then that property crimes were high, not just in the city, but everywhere.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016