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Multiple offender tests court's compassion one more time

A man with 57 prior convictions will spend another 184 days in jail for assaulting a police officer while trying to steal liquor.
October 07, 2015 - 4:48 PM

PENTICTON - A 25-year-old man who has already chalked up 57 prior convictions was warned in Penticton Provincial Court today, Oct. 7, “the ice is getting thin” over repeated failed promises to rehabilitate.

Lawrence Jordan Brown appeared by video in court this afternoon, facing sentencing on several counts stemming from an attempted theft at a Penticton liquor store on Dec. 10, 2014.

Judge Gregory Koturbash recounted the incident leading to Brown’s charges of robbery, assault with intent to resist arrest, theft under $5,000 and two breaches prior to sentencing Brown to a total of 485 days in jail.

Brown entered the liquor store earlier in the day, Dec. 10, when he stole a bottle of vodka before returning again at approximately 10 p.m. Employees locked the door to prevent him escaping with more liquor and in the ensuing “tug of war” one employee suffered a back injury. The tussle continued with another employee into the street, when police arrived to find the employee and Brown still tussling. Police issued the command to Brown to stop resisting, but he continued to struggle.

It eventually took two police and the employee to subdue Brown, but in doing so one of the officers suffered a cracked rib.

Judge Koturbash described Brown’s aboriginal upbringing as “terribly disadvantaged. He noted Brown’s broken family background, an incident where his mother stabbed his father, and Brown’s drug use beginning at age 12.

“I have a great deal of compassion for you,” he said but added he had a duty to protect the public from Brown’s inability to control himself within the community.

The judge also noted numerous opportunities on Brown’s record to turn his life around, saying Brown was “sounding like a broken record with respect to promises to change your ways.” He also noted Brown’s seeming commitment to a criminal way of life, a propensity for violence, and the fact Brown had targeted the Government Street liquor store on a previous occasion as factors affecting his sentencing decision.

The judge also noted Brown’s less than exemplary record while incarcerated, pointing out two assaults on fellow inmates and one instance of being caught with contraband pills -  earning him disciplinary action while in custody.

Defence lawyer Norman Yates told court his client had “grown up” during the past 10 months in custody. Yates said his client was anxious to get out and try and become a contributing member to society.

“He doesn’t want to spend his life in jail, he wants to commit to a plan,” Yates said.

Judge Koturbash sentenced Brown, who has spent 301 days in custody, to another 184 days on the five counts. He also faces two years' probation, a lifetime weapons ban, a ban from entering liquor stores or consuming liquor, a restitution order to the Government Street Liquor Store of $183, and $1,000 in victim surcharge fees.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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