Violent offender made 'good points' during rant while being sentenced: Vernon judge | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Violent offender made 'good points' during rant while being sentenced: Vernon judge

November 27, 2019 - 4:43 PM

A provincial court judge has told a chronic violent offender with a history of mental illness and drug addiction, that he "made some good points" after he went into a long rant about how he'd rather stay in jail than end up back on the street and using drugs.

Trevor Stanley Luszcz, who appeared by video from custody, told Judge Jeremy Guild if he was released today he would end up at a shelter where people were "using dope."

"They need to come up with different situations, when they get released they can go to a clean and sober environment and stay clean, not be put into a safe injection site," Luszcz said.

Luszcz's lengthy rant at the Vernon courthouse today, Nov. 27, came after the court heard how on Nov. 12, 2019, the 34-year-old had threatened staff at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital after being told he had to leave as he had been medically discharged.

Crown lawyer Angela Ross told the court that staff at the hospital had let Luszcz stay for several hours after he'd been officially discharged. When a nurse told Luszcz he needed to leave as they needed the space, he began to yell and scream and threatened to "burn the hospital down."

Security was called and Luszcz threatened the guard. He said he would punch them as it would give him "35 days" in jail. Luszcz eventually left the hospital and was arrested shortly afterwards.

Luszcz pleaded guilty to one charge of uttering threats to burn, destroy or damage and one charge of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. The Crown argued for a 60-day jail sentence with 12 months probation saying that Luszcz had a history of assaults, uttering threats and assaulting police officers.

The court heard how Luszcz had a lengthy criminal record and had pleaded guilty to arson in 2018 after a fire destroyed his parent's Lumby mobile home. The November 2019 incident happened while he was on two different probation orders, following a 60 and 120-day jail sentence for uttering threats and assaulting a police officer in 2018.

Defence lawyer Tiffany Zanatta told the court Luszcz had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, ADHD and struggled with addiction to crystal meth.

Zanatta asked for a sentence of time served, which would account for roughly 25 days in jail.

Judge Guild questioned the defence lawyer's logic.

"Why should there be a substantial decrease in sentencing?" the judge asked.

The defence lawyer said her client was seeking help for his issues.

"If small steps don't work maybe a big step is needed," the judge said.

Judge Guild then asked Luszcz if he had anything to say before he was sentenced, leading to the lengthy rant.

Judge Guild sat patiently as Luszcz said he spent most of his time in prison in isolation because "in jail, I've done stuff I shouldn't have done." Luszcz said when he got out of jail he'd end up on the street and using drugs.

"I'm trying to do a bit better with my life," he said. "Our mental system should be helping me not throwing me in jail."

The judge allowed Luszcz to continue his monologue for several minutes, telling him he made some good points, about his addiction and mental health but "unfortunately there aren't unlimited resources."

Judge Guild handed down a 60-day jail sentence.

As Luszcz continued to talk via the video link, he told the court "I just don't care anymore." As the rant continued and got louder the court clerk switched off the monitor.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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