PENTICTON - A Princeton man with a long history of ignoring court orders will have several months in jail to think about his behaviour following an appearance in Penticton court.
Anthony Donavin Werden will spend the next six months in jail and face a three-year driving prohibition after pleading guilty to three charges in Penticton court today, Feb. 23.
The charges stem from an incident in Penticton on Friday, Feb.19, described in court by Crown Prosecutor John Swanson who said Werden had been visiting the probation office in Penticton when the RCMP Targeted Enforcement Unit spotted him leaving the building and going to a black vehicle parked across the street at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Police observed Werden start the vehicle and move out onto Martin Street, make a sudden, last second turn west on Eastbrook Avenue to Winnipeg Street, where police said he made an “erratic“ turn into an auto sales yard.
Swanson said when Werden saw the police, he drove over the curb, down the street to Westminster Avenue, cutting off a truck as he accelerated into the left lane before veering back into the right lane and cutting off another vehicle prior to turning onto Brunswick Street where police cut him off.
Swanson called the incident “a highly dangerous activity,” taking place in mid-afternoon traffic that put citizens at serious risk. He asked for a sentence of four to six months jail time and a three year driving prohibition.
Defence lawyer James Pennington argued for a three-month sentence, noting his client’s early guilty plea and current domestic situation, describing Werden as having just been hired to a new job and in a relationship where he was helping to raise a two-year-old.
Werden also spoke on his behalf, calling the incident “stupid,” adding it was the first time he had incurred a driving prohibition, a fact disputed by Swanson who noted a prior conviction on May 12, 2011.
Werden responded he didn’t remember the conviction because he has suffered brain damage since then.
Judge Gregory Koturbash was unimpressed with Werden’s apologies, telling the 24-year-old his 39 prior convictions worked out to an average of five per year since he was 16.
“Most people get through their entire life without one conviction,” Judge Koturbash said, calling Werden an "incorrigible menace who continues to re-offend."
“I have no hesitation in sentencing you to the higher end of the range,” the judge said, handing a sentence of 180 days minus time served (six days) on counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, and driving while prohibited.
Werden also faces a three year driving prohibition, while $300 in victim surcharge fees were waived.
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