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Mental health issues at root of assault, court hears

Derrick Wilson Allies will serve a five month conditional sentence after pleading guilty to an assault charge in Penticton court today,Jan. 30, 2019.
January 30, 2019 - 6:00 PM

PENTICTON - A man suffering with mental health issues received a conditional sentence after entering a guilty plea to a charge of assault in court today.

Derrick Wilson Allies was charged after a May 29, 2018 incident at Penticton Regional Hospital, where he was working as a construction labourer on the hospital care tower.

Crown Prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys told court Allies' work crew were picking up equipment around 6:20 a.m. when Allies got into an argument with a fellow worker over the ownership of some tools.

The victim was just turning to walk away from Allies when he saw him swing his fist, hitting him in the chin. 

He suffered bruising and a sore chin and jaw.

The victim went to the lunchroom and reported the incident to a supervisor. He and Allies had been working together for three weeks prior to the incident with no previous issues.

Vandersluys said Allies had a previous record for assault and had been on probation following a conditional discharge for assault when this incident occurred. He asked Judge Michelle Daneliuk for a five-month conditional sentence of house arrest followed by a five-month probationary term in what he said was a joint submission with defence.

Defence lawyer Don Skogstad said his client became involved in what turned out to be a “silly dispute” that had “no good reason” behind it.

His client suffered from depression and anxiety and had been off his medication for a week when the incident took place. He said Allies had been suffering from mental health issues since he was seven, finding it tough to get a proper diagnosis in his early years.

Skogstad said his client was now on new medication and found it controlled his issues.

He told the judge he had advised his client to deal with conflict in the future by "getting away from it.”

Judge Daneliuk agreed to the joint submission, but noted since this offence occurred while on probation, it was Allie’s second conviction.

The judge also said were it not for the joint submission and evidence of Allie’s efforts to improve himself she would have found a period of incarceration appropriate.

“I appreciate your mental health issues, I appreciate your efforts to improve your circumstances since this has happened and I appreciate your (trying) to be a productive member of society,” the judge said.

Allies will be confined to his residence except to go to work and leave the house for a short period of time to conduct the necessities of life.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 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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