Judge rules West Kelowna rapist may remain in public despite threatening to kill a woman, kidnap her son | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Judge rules West Kelowna rapist may remain in public despite threatening to kill a woman, kidnap her son

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August 25, 2020 - 10:05 AM

A West Kelowna man sentenced to five years in jail for a violent rape will remain out of custody pending an appeal, even though he recently threatened to kill someone and kidnap their child.

B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Bruce Butler ruled Jeremy Robert Czechowski's detention was "not necessary in the public interest" and dismissed the Crown's argument that Czechowski should have his bail revoked and be placed back in custody after he was charged for uttering threats.

According to a B.C. Court of Appeal decision Aug. 13, Czechowski – who is out of custody while he awaits an appeal decisions for sexual assault convictions – was arrested in Enderby after allegedly threatening a woman. She alleges he told her he would kill her and kidnap her child. The offence allegedly happened Aug. 3, after Czechowski met the woman through a mutual friend during a gathering on the river in Enderby. Czechowski was charged with uttering threats two days later.

Following the incident, the Crown applied to put Czechowski back behind bars, but Justice Butler dismissed the application, saying that his detention was not justified if his bail conditions were changed. The Justice amended the bail so Czechowski will have to adhere to a stricter curfew and increased his cash deposit to $20,000 from the initial $10,000.

In 2018, Czechowski was convicted of sexual assault causing bodily harm, unlawful confinement, choking with intent to enable himself to commit an indictable offence and uttering threats.

In February 2016, Czechowski took a heavily intoxicated woman to his West Kelowna home. He raped the woman three times, choking her while he did so. The woman left the house and an RCMP officer found her in a nearby bush and took her to hospital.

Czechowski maintained his innocence throughout the court process, saying the sex was consensual but was found guilty in May 2018 and in April 2019 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Czechowski immediately appealed his sentence and was allowed out on bail pending the appeal which was heard June 16. He is currently waiting for the judgement.

The threats to the woman and her child occurred while he was out of custody. According to the Appeal Court decision, on Aug. 3, Czechowski met the woman through a friend during a gathering on the river in Enderby. The woman left the group when the partying became "too rowdy" but realized she had left her car keys in Czechowski's truck.

"When she spoke with the appellant on the phone, she alleges he threatened to kill her and kidnap her child," the decision says.

Czechowski also sent the woman a Facebook message which says, "I know where you live" and "[it’s] on now." The woman is now afraid of Czechowski, says the decision.

While the Crown believed this was grounds to put Czechowski back behind bars, the Justice did not agree.

"An allegation of threatening to cause death or bodily harm is serious. However, it is attenuated somewhat by the fact that the threat was allegedly made over the phone to someone who is not a close acquaintance and little information is provided regarding the surrounding circumstances," Justice Butler says in the decision. "The appellant has been on bail pending appeal or disposition of the appeal for almost two years without any difficulties. He was also on bail for a lengthy time leading up to trial."

Justice Butler says that increasing Czechowski's curfew – from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. – will "significantly reduce the public safety concerns that arise from the recent charge."

The Justice said while he's satisfied the change in the bail conditions meets public safety concerns he must also maintain the public's confidence in the criminal justice system.

"If the public safety concerns arising from the new charge are satisfied by the imposition of additional conditions to the release order, it is my view that the public confidence consideration is also satisfied. Accordingly, I am satisfied that the appellant’s detention is not necessary in the public interest," Justice Butler says.

There is no indication in the decision of when Czechowski appeal ruling will be heard.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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.

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