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Penticton Indian Band councillor and two others fined for trespassing

From left to right: Fred Kruger, Cole Kruger and Felix Kruger speak with their lawyer Kate Gunn outside Penticton court, Tuesday, Jan. 29. 2019. The three men pleaded guilty to trespassing.
January 29, 2019 - 12:09 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton Indian Band councillor, and two other band members, have been fined $500 each after entering guilty pleas to trespassing charges in Penticton court today.

Crown prosecutor Karla Dodds presented an agreed statement of facts to Judge Michelle Daneliuk regarding the circumstances resulting in trespass charges against Coun. Fred Kruger, Cole Kruger and Felix Thomas Kruger in court today, Jan. 29.

Dodds told court none of the accused had permission to be on a Greyback Road private property early in the morning on Jan. 29, 2017, on land that was well posted with “no trespassing” signage.

A Greyback Road resident who saw the Krugers drive by heard gunshots a few minutes later. The resident got in his own vehicle and drove up the road where he found the Krugers parked at the side of the road. The three men were on the subject private property and were seen with an animal carcass.

The resident remained on scene until the arrival of conservation officers and members of the RCMP. The conservation officers also noted the Krugers were on private property. The three men identified themselves to officials at the scene.

Dodds noted the men’s early guilty pleas save the court time by avoiding the scheduled three-day trial scheduled.

She referred to the trespass as “non-standard,” noting neighbouring residents had been concerned about the sound of gunshots.

Dodds said the minimum fine for the offence was $115, but asked the judge for a $500 fine for each of the accused.

“I note that this is a fairly significant increase from the minimum fine, but in Crown’s submission it reflects the circumstances of the offence,” Dodds said.

Defence lawyer Kate Gunn said she had discussed ways of avoiding trespassing on private property in the future with the three accused.

Responding to the judge’s question about the accused’s ability to pay the fine, she noted Fred Kruger to be a Penticton Indian Band councillor, adding Cole and Felix also had the support of the Penticton Indian Band.

Judge Daneliuk agreed with the joint submission, noting the early resolution to the matter through the accused’s guilty pleas.

She also noted the use of a firearm on private property as an aggravating factor.

“Frankly, it’s a fortunate situation there was nobody on that property that was within range,” she said, sentencing the three to fines of $500 apiece.

Additional charges of unlawful possession of dead wildlife and discharge of a firearm in a no shooting area were stayed by the Crown.

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