Penticton flasher gets more jail time in 'tragic case' | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton flasher gets more jail time in 'tragic case'

David Ernest Friesen, 66, will spend 65 more days in jail following sentencing for indecent exposure, breach and committing an indecent act in Penticton court today, June 27, 2019.
June 27, 2019 - 4:30 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton man will spend another 65 days in jail in what the sentencing judge called a "tragic case" highlighting failures in the prison system.

David Ernest Friesen, 66, has been in custody Oct. 14, 2018 incident in which he breached his probation conditions and exposed himself to a 12-year-old boy.

Friesen has had several sentencing hearings, but the decision was repeatedly put off as no suitable accommodations have been found for Friesen, who has a troublesome history.

A sentencing hearing was adjourned earlier this month in order for the Crown prosecutor to review a 2009 sentencing hearing of Friesen’s for an assault on a 14-year-old autistic boy.

Crown prosecutor Nashina Devji told the court Thursday morning, June 27, the assault took place over a six to seven-hour period during Christmas of 2009, when Friesen was hired as a care aid to look after the youth, who had limited communication skills.

While at Friesen’s sister’s house the boy grabbed the hair of a young girl.

Friesen then began assaulting the youth. He had both hands around the youth’s neck, left him outside for an hour, pushed him in the face, and after cutting his hand, wiped the blood off on the boy’s face.

He wouldn’t let the youth go to the washroom, resulting in him urinating himself, in addition to making him wait until everyone else had eaten before allowing the youth to do so.

Devji said Friesen had other options available, including restraints, but failed to use them, continuing the assault for several hours, even when the youth was behaving in a docile way.

Friesen was convicted of assault at the time, a pre-sentence report indicating Friesen lacked remorse and  "insight into the way most people view things.”

Because it was a first offence, he was given a conditional discharge and probation.

Devji said even though the assault occurred 10 years ago, there remained “common threads” with Friesen’s latest charges, in that he continued to victimize young people.

She said Friesen repeatedly failed to accept responsibility for his actions and “victimized in profound ways.”

“He has repeatedly failed to accept responsibility. He simply doesn’t understand why his behaviour was wrong,” Devji said, adding that was a concern about Friesen’s ability to engage in a rehabilitative process.

She said a recent pre-sentence and psychological report found Friesen to suffer from a bipolar disorder, in addition to having an obsessive-compulsive histrionic and narcissistic personality.

Devji asked Judge Koturbash to consider a 24-hour curfew for Friesen upon his release, also expressing concern for Friesen’s expressed desire to buy a puppy after his release.

Defence lawyer James Pennington called Crown’s request “an attempt to institutionalize” Friesen by having him under 24-hour house arrest.

“This case represents a failure of the mental health system and the community at large for failing to fund it,” Pennington said, calling it a "tragic case."

He asked where and how Crown would propose to lock Friesen up, adding there was no evidence Friesen had ever hurt an animal.

Judge Koturbash said he found Friesen to be guilty of committing an indecent act while exposing his genitals to a 12-year-old boy in a park, while on probation with a condition not to be in public parks.

The judge said Friesen had once been well connected with mental health and psychiatric services locally, but his caseworkers have retired and he is now on a waitlist for a psychiatrist. He is currently homeless and has been unsuccessful in finding a place to live, preventing the use of an electronic monitoring device.

He also noted Friesen’s inability to abide by the simplest of conditions, calling him a high risk to re-offend.

“It is rare to find police, sheriffs, prosecutors, defence lawyers, probation officers, prison officials and judges that are all on the same page, but across the criminal justice spectrum there is a clear and strong consensus that something has gone painfully awry, and we have lost our way,” the judge said.

He said Friesen had been in jail for close to a year but had not received any treatment, calling jail a frightening place for those with mental illnesses.

“Canadian jails, and B.C. is no exception, have become mental health facilities, for which they are poorly equipped,” he said.

“The closure of psychiatric hospitals, the reduction of bed space for the mentally ill, the correctional system has become the institution of last resort,” he said.

“Although firmly convinced Mr. Friesen needs to be institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital for his benefit and that of the community, I am not vested with such powers to make such an order. Instead, I am left with the singular option of warehousing Mr. Friesen in an effort to ensure the public remains safe,” the judge said.

Friesen was given a total sentence of 270 days on charges of committing an indecent act, exposure and breach. With enhanced credit for time served, he has 65 days remaining, followed by three year’s probation.

He will be subject to 24-hour house arrest until suitable accommodation that would allow the use of an electronic monitoring bracelet, in addition to facing a lifetime ban from attending a park, playground, schoolyard, or public place where a person under 16 years of age might be found.

He is also prohibited from possessing animals.

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