Sex crime sentencing delayed—again

Rene Mark Burke was supposed to be sentenced Tuesday for convictions of sex abuse against a minor but it was delayed over scheduling and health matters.
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PENTICTON — The sentencing for a man charged with sexually abusing a minor was put off due to scheduling conflicts and health matters in Penticton Provincial Court today.

Rene Mark Burke, 56, was found guilty earlier this year of sex crimes committed in 2011 against a teenager.

Burke was expected to be sentenced on Tuesday but the courtroom was already booked for another case.

Defence lawyer James Pennington said his client's health is bad and he doesn't "look or sound good." He said Burke is "loaded up with nitro" for a heart condition. A courtoom sheriff also expressed concern about the prisoner's health.

Burke has already served 18 months in custody since being arrested. He was convicted on fear of sexual offence against person under 14, touching a young person and two breaches of recognizance.

Judge Meg Shaw was not happy about another delay. She said the convicted man as well as the public deserve to know what the sentence will be.

Crown counsel John Swanson said he will be unavailable after today due to another case he is working on. The judge did not want sentencing delayed until the fall.

They hope to find a new sentencing date on Wednesday.

The teen's father was not surprised about another delay. He said Burke will eventually be sentenced.

"I know justice is going to be served," he said.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the victim's identity, started a chain of events back in 2011 which led to Burke's arrest.

Infotel News was provided with copied Okanagan-Skaha School Board documents in April which show Burke had permission from board officials to transfer a student from one school to another even though he is not the teen's legal guardian. When the father found out he went to the RCMP. The father has sinced started a civil case against the school board.

School board officials and elected trustees have declined to speak about this matter when contacted.

They have said the matter is before the courts.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

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