Hedley man avoids jail term for assaulting police officer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Hedley man avoids jail term for assaulting police officer

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
October 31, 2018 - 5:02 PM

PENTICTON - A Hedley man has avoided jail time after being sentenced for assaulting a police officer.

Madam Justice Ker handed down a suspended sentence to Bremner Eric Lance in Penticton court on Oct. 2 in a judgement arising from an incident that occurred in Hedley on Sept.16, 2016.

Lance, who was 39 at the time of the incident, was found guilty of assaulting a police officer.

The officer was responding to complaints about Lance driving erratically and doing burnouts on the bridge in Hedley. He was attacked as he tried to have Lance's pickup towed. The officer suffered cuts and bruises, and a bite on his forearm. Despite being hit with pepper spray, it took the arrival of a second officer to finally subdue him.

In passing sentence, Justice Ker noted Lance was subject to extenuating circumstances at the time of the incident. He was unemployed, and drinking and smoking marijuana the day of the incident. A pre-sentence report noted Lance helped care for his younger brother, and was in financial difficulties following the recent death of his mother, who had been keeping his books for him.

Justice Ker also noted Lance had maintained employment for most of his life, had an otherwise solid standing in the community and had expressed remorse for the incident, which the judge suspected had been exacerbated by his being under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Lance also had no previous criminal record.

Crown prosecutor Ann Lerchs was seeking a 15-month jail term and 12-months probation for the charge, which carries up to a maximum 10-year jail term. Defence lawyer Don Skogstad asked the court for a suspended sentence.

“In my view, exceptional circumstance exist to justify sentencing below the otherwise normal range,” Ker wrote in her judgement.

She said a suspended sentence would serve as an appropriate deterrent as Lance would now have a criminal record and the resulting stigma.

She suspended Lance’s sentence, gave him three years probation — during which he is not to drink alcohol or use drugs — and a 10-year firearms ban. He was also ordered to perform 240-hours of community work and must apologize to the officer he assaulted.

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