Penticton man gets six months jail for punching Walmart greeter over mask policy | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton man gets six months jail for punching Walmart greeter over mask policy

FILE PHOTO - The Walmart in Penticton is seen in this undated file photo.

A Penticton man has been sentenced to six months in jail for punching an elderly Walmart greeter over the retailer's COVID-19 mask policy.

Timothy Beresford pleaded guilty to the assault after representing himself in Penticton provincial court, according to a recently published, Sept. 27, decision.

In October 2021, Beresford rode his scooter into the Penticton Walmart where the 69-year-old greeter asked him to put on a mask.

The greeter said he'd have to leave if he didn't put on a mask and Beresford responded by driving his scooter into the greeter.

Beresford then got off the scooter to punch the greeter and continue to advance as employees rushed to help the greeter and get Beresford out of the store, according to the decision.

Beresford left with his scooter, briefly getting off to rush at the employees again, until he left the store where he was arrested.

Beresford was 50 years old at the time of the assault, "much younger and substantially bigger" than Evans who is "a person of very small stature," according to the judge.

Evans had to be treated for a misaligned jaw.

"Through his actions and words during the incident and in court, Beresford confirms that he did not and does not believe the mask mandate during COVID-19 was appropriate and it infringed upon his rights," Justice Greg Koturbash's decision read.

Beresford identifies as a Freeman on the Land, a group the judge described as people who believe "the laws of Canada have no application to them."

"In other words, they believe they are above the law, a misinformed and misguided belief," Justice Koturbash said.

Beresford was not quoted in the decision, but Justice Koturbash also said his comments in the proceedings indicated Beresford had no "measure of remorse or empathy" for the victim.

The decision also said there is little known about Beresford as he refused to take part in a psychiatric report and declined having any family. He later acknowledged that he has five children, but he's estranged from them and his former partner.

Justice Koturbash said there was no evidence presented in court about why Beresford needed to use the scooter, and he had no indication Beresford suffered from a physical disability.

Beresford has previous convictions, including a recent recognizance breach, for which he was sentenced to 15 days in prison earlier this year. That breach is likely related to a peace bond with some of his family members.

He also has a previous conviction for the careless use of a firearm in 2007.

Among the conditions the judge placed on Beresford's 12-month probation order, Justice Koturbash also added a three-year firearms ban.

"I am satisfied, given the volatility of the situation, with your belief that the laws do not apply to you, that a firearms prohibition is appropriate," the judge said.

Beresford was sentenced to six-months jail.

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