Concerns about federal prison program prompts delay in Penticton arsonist's sentencing - InfoNews

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Concerns about federal prison program prompts delay in Penticton arsonist's sentencing

FILE PHOTO- The sentencing hearing for Sydney Leer, accused of setting a fire that burned four Penticton Avenue townhouses last October, was delayed in Penticton court again today, June 7, 2017.
June 07, 2017 - 8:00 PM

PENTICTON - The sentencing of a Penticton teenager on two counts of arson was adjourned this morning.

Sydney Leer pleaded guilty to the arson charges back in March, following the Oct.13, 2016 fire that burned four units of a Penticton Avenue townhouse complex.

Defence lawyer James Pennington today, June 7, asked for an adjournment to allow time to look into a Correctional Services Canada psychological program for inmates that he’d heard “adverse commentary” about. He said he was concerned about the treatment his client might be getting were she to become part of the program.

In addition to his concerns about the Corrections program, Pennington told Judge Gregory Koturbash while talking to his client this morning she appeared to be "heavily drugged" and he was unsure how much she might be comprehending.

Koturbash reluctantly adjourned the case to the trial coordinator for a new date.

Outside the courtroom, Pennington said his understanding is the Correctional Services psychological program is operated by a corrections employee with two weeks’ training followed by some time spent job shadowing, with no accredited psychologists overseeing or involved.

Leer has been in jail since the fire. Her case has faced numerous delays, partly due to a late psychological report and changes in counsel that took place late in the proceedings.

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