South Okanagan man avoids criminal record after punching owner of dog that pooped on his lawn | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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South Okanagan man avoids criminal record after punching owner of dog that pooped on his lawn

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
August 27, 2018 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - A Penticton judge has given a Summerland man an absolute discharge for assaulting the owner of a dog that defecated in the defendant's yard.

Riley Jones, 24, pleaded guilty to assault today, Aug. 27, following an incident this spring on Reynolds Avenue in Summerland.

Crown prosecutor Ann Lerchs told court a man who was hired to do a few hours of gardening each month on the Reynolds Avenue property called police around 12:30 p.m. on April 25 to report he had been assaulted. Police arrived to find the victim with a swollen left eye.

He claimed he’d been punched in the face by Jones, who came out of a nearby house yelling obscenities and claiming his dog had defecated in his yard. The gardener also said Jones tried to kick the dog but missed. He then swung at the victim, striking him. He told police he thought he been knocked unconscious by the blow.

Crown wanted a suspended sentence and 15 months of probation, while defence lawyer Nelson Selamaj asked for the absolute discharge.

Selamaj said his client was currently working towards a Red Seal certification as a welder and did not want a criminal record. 

He told court his client had been home from work on the day in question with a migraine when he heard a commotion caused by the gardener’s dog chasing his cat. He said it wasn’t the first time Jones had to deal with the dog, having asked the gardener to take it away in the past after it had pooped on his lawn.

He told the judge his client acted impulsively when he struck out at the gardener.

Jones, who doesn't have a criminal record, also offered his apologies to Judge Gregory Koturbash saying he regretted his actions immediately after it happened.

“I’ve never laid hands on anybody in my life, even in high school. I’ve never been in a fight. From the moment it happened, to this day… I’d take it back in a heartbeat,” Jones said. “I deeply regret it."

Koturbash noted letters of character written by people who knew Jones when explaining an absolute discharge was warranted, but didn't let him off the hook without a warning.

“I need to send a message to the public that if you physically engage in assaultive behaviour over dog poop, you’ll find yourself in court, and that’s certainly where you are today,” Koturbash said. “Don’t ever come back."

Jones was given a $600 victim surcharge fine.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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