Defence, city lawyers tangle over documents in case against Penticton street person - InfoNews

Current Conditions


Defence, city lawyers tangle over documents in case against Penticton street person

Well known downtown street person Paul Braun's lawyer was in court today, setting a trial date and making further requests for information from the city, who has charged Braun with eight counts of obstruction under the city's Good Neighbour Bylaw.
January 25, 2018 - 5:07 PM

PENTICTON - The case against a well-known Penticton street person facing city bylaw charges moved slowly towards a trial date today.

Paul Braun faces eight counts of obstruction under the city’s Good Neighbour Bylaw. Braun is well known in the city’s downtown core, and is often seen sitting at the corner of the entrance to the breezeway in the city’s 200 block.

The charges relate to his occupation of that spot at various times last year.

Braun is a well-known street person in the downtown core whose right to sit in the street was also championed by Penticton resident Mike Forster after Braun received a ticket in 2016.

Defence lawyer Paul Varga made his fourth application for disclosure while City of Penticton prosecuting lawyer, Troy DeSouza, expressed his desire to set a trial date following three previous courtroom appearances on the matter.

Varga sought further disclosure from the city, related to city council's decision-making surrounding the creation and adoption of the city’s Good Neighbour Bylaw, which was introduced in September 2012.

Varga also hinted he may initiate a constitutional challenge, depending on what further disclosure reveals.

Varga argued the city was specifically after Braun in their enforcement of the bylaw, describing two photos that appeared to show bylaw enforcement personnel targeting him.

At issue for Penticton Provincial Court Judge Michelle Daneliuk this morning, Jan. 25, was whether or not the disclosure items Varga sought were actually available from the city.

DeSouza told the court most of what Varga was seeking could be found in video recordings of the city’s council meetings, posted to the city’s online website.

He said Varga was “fishing in a pond with no fish,” insisting the city had provided volumes of material to Varga.

DeSouza said in his view it was highly unusual to make four court appearances before setting a trial date, adding with each previous court appearance local media wrote about the case.

He handed the judge a copy of a Penticton newspaper with a photo depicting Varga sitting with his client in the 200 block breezeway.

“Our preference is to try this case in a court of law rather than the media,” he told Judge Daneliuk.

Varga asked if it was DeSouza’s intent to request a publication ban, to which he responded, “no.”

Varga entered not guilty pleas on behalf of his client.

His request for further disclosure items, which was agreed to by Judge Daneliuk, included communications between city council members and staff with respect to Braun’s case.

Varga said afterward he will be sitting in support of his client in the breezeway next Tuesday, Jan. 30 at noon, saying he’s providing comfort to Braun who he said, “looks lost and alone.” He said he had extended the invitation to the mayor and members of council.

Varga said it was hard to predict how long the trial might last, noting he and DeSouza confidently predicted today’s proceedings would take a half hour.

“You saw what happened today, we were boasting it would take 30 minutes, and next thing you know, we’re here for the afternoon session as well,” Varga said, adding a pre-trial conference has also been scheduled prior to the trial, set for four days starting Sept. 11.

DeSouza says he was "very pleased" with the outcome of today’s hearing.

“We were getting a little frustrated, because (the trial date) wasn’t being set, and there were all these disclosure requests being made,” he said, adding he was fully aware of his obligation to provide disclosure.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Police search for missing Kelowna woman
    KELOWNA - Kelowna RCMP are asking for the public's help in finding a missing 27-year-old woman. RCMP say Joenna Saunders was last heard from on Nov. 27. She was reported missing on Dec.
  • Girl opens Christmas present she gave to boy when she dumped him in 1971
    ST. ALBERT, Alta. - A man in Edmonton who made international headlines for holding onto a wrapped Christmas gift from a high-school girlfriend who dumped him nearly 50 years ago finally learned wh
  • Water quality advisory in effect in North Okanagan
    NORTH OKANAGAN - The district has issued a water quality advisory for the North Okanagan. The Regional District of North Okanagan Silver Star Water Utility in conjunction with Interior Healt
  • Kamloops Fire Rescue respond to McDonalds deep fryer fire
    KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops McDonalds was temporarily closed last night due to a small deep fryer fire. Kamloops Fire Rescue arrived at the McDonalds location in Sahali at about 11:30 p.m. last ni
  • Vernon fast food restaurant held up by man with syringe
    VERNON - RCMP are on the hunt for a suspect after a robbery at a Vernon restaurant earlier this week. A man threatened staff with an allegedly contaminated needle on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Wr
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile