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Prolific offender sentenced on one set of charges, denied bail for others

Jesse John McKnight will remain in custody following the expiry of his current sentence in 18 days, after bail was denied on two driving charges in Penticton court yesterday, Nov. 8, 2017.
November 09, 2017 - 4:22 PM

PENTICTON - An Okanagan Falls man who is no stranger to the criminal justice system will remain behind bars after facing a sentencing and a bail hearing in court yesterday.

Jesse John McKnight, 28, was sentenced on two counts of drug possession, two breaches, and two counts of driving while his license was suspended prior to a bail hearing on additional charges of dangerous driving and driving while prohibited in Penticton provincial court yesterday afternoon, Nov. 8.

Court heard from Crown Prosecutor Ann Lerechs McKnight was driving a damaged Hyundai in Surrey with another man when he caught the attention of a police officer who discovered the vehicle was registered to a woman.

The officer attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver, identified as McKnight, continued driving, eventually turning into a residential driveway where both men got out. Police apprehended McKnight after identifying him as a suspended driver.

On Aug. 20, 2017, at around 9:37 a.m., Penticton RCMP patrolling a trailer park on Skaha Lake Road witnessed a Jeep Cherokee pull out of the park with McKnight at the wheel.

Officers were aware of McKnight’s two outstanding warrants and no valid driver’s license. Wary of giving chase, because of McKnight’s previous driving history of flight from police, they watched the vehicle but did not try to stop it. Instead another warrant for McKnight was issued and he was arrested Sept. 15.

He has been in custody since.

Lerechs asked Judge Meg Shaw for a  45-day jail sentence and a two year driving prohibition, citing McKnight's “terrible driving record,” which included three previous flight from police charges and three dangerous driving charges, in his criminal record, which totals 32 convictions.

Federal Crown prosecutor Ginger Holmes told court on July 11, 2017,  at around 5 p.m., RCMP observed McKnight getting in and out of a pickup truck parked at a residence in Okanagan Falls.

Police were aware McKnight was wanted at the time on an unendorsed warrant for driving while prohibited and members of the Penticton RCMP detachment’s Targeted Enforcement Unit surrounded the residence and arrested him.

A search of McKnight revealed .92 grams of heroin and an iPhone. They also found one gram of heroin, 12 grams of magic mushrooms, 45 grams of marijuana and a can of bear spray in the truck.

McKnight was held for a court appearance and later released with a condition to report, which he failed to do between July 27 and Aug.4. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

On Aug. 30, he also failed to attend an arraignment hearing.

Holmes asked Judge Meg Shaw to consider a total of 90 days for the drug possession and breach charges.

Defence lawyer James Pennington pointed out police refused to try and stop him on Skaha Lake Road because of history of flight from police, but noted the Surrey officer had no trouble stopping him.

“As for the flight from police, what the court needs to know, is Mr. McKnight has a history of actually being hit and run over by police vehicles for no apparent reason other than the officer wished to pull him over,” Pennington said, pointing out an instance where McKnight was riding a bicycle when a police cruiser came up behind him and struck him.

“You have that done to you on more than one occasion, it’s likely to tell you that if I stop for the police and cooperate, nothing good is going to come of it,” Pennington said.

Pennington argued a more appropriate sentence to Crown's 135-day jail term would be 90 days, served intermittently, as McKnight now had a residence and had secured employment.

McKnight told court he has addiction issues, saying he has been hooked on heroin and has quit three times.

He said he had been in custody long enough to have completed nine programs while behind bars.

Judge Shaw noted McKnight’s “unenviable criminal record,” including his numerous driving offences, sentencing McKnight to a total of 102 days.

With time served, McKnight has 18 more days in his present sentence, but he will remain in custody following that as a result of the bail hearing following his sentencing yesterday afternoon.

Judge Shaw denied his release pending further charges of dangerous driving and driving while prohibited in another incident.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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