Sentencing hearing halted after allegations of excessive police force | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Sentencing hearing halted after allegations of excessive police force

Allegations of police mistreatment arose in a Penticton courtroom today, Dec. 14, 2017, during sentencing of Simon Bell on several charges including theft, fraud, flight from police and being unlawfully at large.
December 14, 2017 - 2:50 PM

PENTICTON - A sentencing hearing for a 37-year-old Oliver man was adjourned this afternoon in Penticton court after differing stories about the man’s arrest alerted the judge to the possibility excessive force was used during the arrest.

Simon Kincolith Bell faced charges of flight from police, possession of stolen property, theft over $5,000, possession of a controlled substance, theft under $5,000, being unlawfully at large and fraud stemming from several incidents taking place between March 20 and Nov. 28, when he was arrested.

During a recounting of the arrest, Crown Prosecutor Kurt Froehlich told court Penticton RCMP officers were called to assist Oliver RCMP in finding and arresting Bell on Nov. 28.

He was located on a property on Granby Avenue and police waited for Bell to come outside. When he came out, police told Bell he was under arrest.

“He initially tried to squeeze by the police, but he was quickly taken to the ground and after a bit of a struggle, he was handcuffed,” Froehlich recounted, adding the police observed Mr. Bell had a injury to his wrist. He said he had hurt it the previous day. Froehlich said Bell was then taken to the hospital for the injury where he was seen at South Okanagan General Hospital prior to being sent to Penticton Regional Hospital for surgery.

However, submissions by defence lawyer Norm Yates described Bell’s arrest prior to going into custody as “quite rough.”

“He ended up re-injuring his already injured wrist as a result of the way the police were physical with him. In his view they were unnecessarily physical and unnecessarily rough with him. He complained to them after he was taken into custody about his injured wrist, and he was not taken, he advises me, seriously, not taken to the emergency room at the hospital subsequent to his arrest. It wasn’t until several days later, that it was apparent he was having considerable distress in his wrist and hand… and he ended up having surgery,” Yates told court.

Questions raised by Judge Michelle Daneliuk revealed Bell did not have a pre-existing injury to his right wrist when police arrested him.

“So, police broke his wrist when they arrested him?” she asked, to which Bell answered in the affirmative.

Bell appeared in court via video from Okanagan Correctional Centre, his right arm in a cast.

Judge Daneliuk adjourned the case and requested more information, including hospital records, with respect to Bell’s injured wrist.

“I want some more information about this aspect of the case...  I’m not trying to make an issue where there ought not to be one, but I can’t ignore what I’ve heard,” the judge said.

Both counsel were seeking a joint recommendation for Bell which, if agreed to by the judge, would see him serve 254 days in jail.

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