No more public comment on panhandling case when trial starts, city says

Paul Braun's panhandling trial begins next week, and with the start of the trial the City of Penticton will not make further public comment on the case until the trial's completion.

PENTICTON - A high profile legal action between the City of Penticton and street person Paul Braun is about to go to trial, with time running out for the city to comment publicly about the case.

Paul Braun has been charged with eight counts of obstructive panhandling within a ten metre exclusion zone. His case is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 11 through Sept. 14.

The City of Penticton issued a press release today noting the city’s intent to cease making public comment on the case after Sept. 10, until the conclusion of the trial.

The city says if Braun had moved his panhandling activities one metre outside the exclusion zone, he would not be facing the charges.

“Mr. Braun needs to comply with the same bylaws that apply to everyone else in Penticton. Mr. Braun is not above the law, nor does he get a special exemption from it,” City of Penticton Prosecutor Troy DeSouza says.

The city says the prosecution of Braun is part of the city’s ongoing policy of stepped up street enforcement and increased emphasis controlling inappropriate behaviours in the downtown area.

City of Penticton Chief Administrative Officer Peter Weeber said yesterday the city has run up $26,000 in legal bills in the Braun case so far.

Braun's lawyer, Paul Varga, could not be reached for comment.


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