Lack of report delays sentencing hearing for woman accused of arson - InfoNews

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Lack of report delays sentencing hearing for woman accused of arson

FILE PHOTO - The arson sentencing of the woman accused of setting a fire that destroyed four condominium units on Penticton Avenue last Oct. 13, 2015, had her hearing delayed again because of an uncompleted report.
February 06, 2017 - 11:03 AM

'TO SAY IT'S A MATTER OF A LACK OF RESOURCES IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE'

PENTICTON - The woman accused of setting fire to a Penticton townhouse complex in October, 2015 has had her sentencing hearing delayed again.

Delays in the completion of a report from the Forensic Psychiatric Services forced adjournment of today’s scheduled sentencing of Sydney Leer, accused of setting a fire that destroyed four units in a Penticton Avenue condominium complex last fall.

Crown Prosecutor Kurt Froehlich told Judge Koturbash in Penticton court today, “From the Crown’s perspective, we are in the unenviable position of again asking for this matter to go over until the completion of this report.”

Froehlich said the report was “absolutely necessary,” noting Ms. Leer had been in custody a long time, however, “the mental health of this young person is a significant piece of the puzzle that affect sentencing.”

Leer, 18, faces two charges of arson. She has no criminal record.

He said the delay was the result of a “resource issue” at Forensic Psychiatric Services, noting the original requested date for the report was in November.

Defence lawyer Norm Yates told court he had not received a copy of the letter regarding the delayed report.

“In my 28 years of appearing before this court I have never seen anything as abject as this one. This is a young lady in a difficult situation and to say it’s a matter of a lack of resources is totally unacceptable,” Yates said.

Judge Koturbash expressed his disappointment at the delay, adjourning the matter until Feb.8 in the hopes of communicating with Forensic Psychiatric Services to come to an acceptable date for the report’s completion.


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