Key witness in Kelowna murder trial sentenced for own crimes - InfoNews

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Key witness in Kelowna murder trial sentenced for own crimes

Kelowna Law Courts
October 02, 2019 - 1:44 PM

KELOWNA - A key witness in a high profile murder trial was sentenced to 208 days in prison today, Oct. 2, for what his lawyer described as a "drug-related spree of petty offences."

Elrich Dyck, who became known during the murder trial of Chris Ausman as the "Beast of Rutland," was repeatedly caught, arrested and charged from May to June 2019 for thefts of everything from sandwiches and rum, to a wireless speaker from Value Village.

Some of the shoplifting offences were valued as low as $3.99 while others hovered just around $40.

His most costly offence was the destruction of a windshield on a 2001 Honda Civic. Its owner paid around $326 for its replacement. He also grabbed an iPhone 8 from someone and threw it down a drain. 

Probation breaches, for going into the stores he stole from, were also included on the list of 13 crimes.

Dyck who appeared via video wearing prison red, appeared composed and acknowledged his behaviour was unusual.

"I apologize for my silliness. I should act better for my age," he said. 

READ MORE: Dyck was a key figure in Stephen Pirko's murder trial

"I want to get better and get counselling. I am sorry for wasting your time in court today."

His lawyer Grant Gray said Dyck has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and was addicted to methamphetamine.

He has a Grade 6 education and had previously worked in construction.

When Gray recently asked him if he was intending to get back to work one day, Dyck told him that he intended to "get his head together first."

Dyck, 29, intends to move back to Penticton upon his release. He has a six-year-old daughter there.

Provincial court judge Jeremy Guild said before sentencing he believes Dyck has taken a number of important steps.

"One is taking responsibility — that's a big thing in my view for dealing with problems that lead people to commit crimes," Guild said. "You said the focus now is on getting better... that shows a lot of insight into what you need to do and that's a good thing."

Addiction, he said, rewires a brain and he advised Dyck to get someone who can give him a sober second thought when he needs it.

Guild accepted the joint sentencing submission from Crown counsel Jean-Benoit Deschamps and Gray.

The total amount of jail would be 208 days less time served. Dyck has served 99 days, which he was credited time-and-a-half for, and that will be applied to his sentence.

He will also be on probation for the next two years, and face a series of other conditions including not going near his previous victims or into stores he previously stole from.

Although it was not mentioned in today's appearance, the time frame that these offences took place overlapped with the murder trial he was a witness in.

Dyck was with convicted killer Steven Pirko on the night of a fatal fight with Ausman. In fact, he was the one who started the fight, according to testimony from Pirko. He never faced any charges from the events of Jan. 25, 2014.

Pirko is still awaiting sentencing after being convicted of murder earlier this year.


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