PENTICTON - A young native man faces a conditional jail sentence for weapons charges after demonstrating his ability to turn his life around.
Aaron Jack Kroeger entered guilty pleas to charges of possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes, and unauthorized possession of a non-firearm in Penticton court this morning, March 6.
After hearing circumstances regarding the man’s rehabilitative efforts, Judge Gregory Koturbash complimented Kroeger on his efforts to “turn the ship around,” and deal with his issues.
Crown Prosecutor Kurt Froehlich provided court with details of the early morning May 23, 2015, incident in which police spotted a man lying on the ground on Lakeshore Drive near Winnipeg Street while Kroeger stood nearby with a dark object in his hand.
When he saw police, he began running, heading into Okanagan Lake Park.
The officer did not pursue Kroeger, instead attending to the man down in the street, who was breathing, but unconscious.
Froehlich said Crown was not seeking to prove any circumstances between the man lying on the ground and Kroeger’s close proximity, saying only police received a complaint of a man lying on the ground with Kroeger nearby.
Around 1:30 a.m., Kroeger was seen near the courthouse. After being told he was under arrest, Kroeger ran across the street into Gyro Park where he was chased down and arrested.
While being taken to lockup, he was reportedly verbally abusive and aggressive with police.
During processing, police found a taser in his pocket.
He was later released on a promise to appear.
Froehlich said Kroeger’s pre-sentence report indicated his use of alcohol and ecstasy, and a limited insight into his offences, recommending Kroeger receive community treatment and counselling.
He asked Judge Koturbash to consider a three- to six-month conditional sentence order along with a 12-month probation term, and that counselling include residential treatment. He also asked for a curfew during the last three months of probation.
Defence lawyer James Pennington said his 19-year-old client had merely been holding onto the taser for a friend.
He said his client had changed his life since the incident by changing his peer group and re-connecting with elders in the band.
“His appearance and attitude has changed. He has been undergoing counselling,” Pennington said.
Pennington said his client had been experiencing medical problems in the form of migraine headaches when the incident occurred.
Judge Koturbash expressed his satisfaction at the changes Kroeger had been able to effect on himself, telling him in spite of what the pre-sentence report indicated, he did exhibit insight into his actions.
The judge agreed to a 90-day sentence of house arrest, along with a 12-month probationary period. Kroeger also faces forfeiture of the taser and a 10-year firearms prohibition.
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