Westbank farmer tried to arrange a 'hit' in dispute over access to spiritual leader - InfoNews

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Westbank farmer tried to arrange a 'hit' in dispute over access to spiritual leader

Brante Farrell
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Facebook
June 12, 2019 - 5:24 PM

KELOWNA - When a West Kelowna farmer finally got an opportunity to speak directly to the judge Wednesday in his sentencing hearing for conspiracy to commit assault, it didn’t have the impact he might have expected.

"I believe my only plan was to seek help for my godmother, I did not plan to harm anyone from the onset,” Brante Farrell said.

Kelowna provincial court Judge Ellen Burdett then interrupted: “But you did plan to hurt someone, that’s what you pled guilty to. Correct?”

“You’re absolutely correct your honour,” Farrell said, before receiving swift counsel from his lawyer and continuing his statement.

He will learn his fate tomorrow morning in an odd case. Farrell is accused of arranging an assault on the man who was living with and caring for his 96-year-old godmother Atlanta Braley.

Both Farrell, born in 1984, and Avery Haines were members of the West Kelowna spiritual group Equilibrium Philosophy Association. Braley was a leader of the group and Farrell believed that Haines was taking advantage of her and was not a suitable caretaker.

Braley, who died last November, hosted spiritual and counselling sessions in her home in Glenrosa.

Crown prosecutor Martin Nadon said the Equilibrium Philosophy Association "was a group that had a fair amount of control and sway over its members.”

Farrell was told by police on Sept. 8, 2018 that he was no longer allowed to see his godmother.

“I became hysterical and I am responsible for choosing to go ahead with this crime at that moment,” Farrell said in a tearful statement.

Farrell said he tried going to police and interior health with his claims of improper care. When they declined to intervene, Farrell posted an ad on Craigslist seeking an individual for hire who would to break Haines' legs, arms and jaw for $800. Instead, he was scammed by a 19-year-old boy who took his money and didn’t complete the act. A short time later, a woman who helped Farrell with the ad decided to go to the police and confess. Farrell was arrested soon after, and also confessed.

Farrell is listed as the owner of Westbank Harvest. He is a first time offender.

The Crown wants a sentence of two years in jail followed by probation, whereas the defence is asking that Farrell serve his sentence in the community, without jail time.

“It’s upsetting, that I grew up around Brante, and he didn’t need to be like this,” Haines, the intended victim of the assault, said outside court. “I was with Atlanta 24/7, she wanted me there, everybody says I was abusing her and… we were being harassed by everybody around us.”

Haines points to financial greed as the root of the entire issue, and suggested Farrell was lying in court.

“My friend was harassed to death,” says Haines of his mentor Braley. He claimed that the reason Braley refused to see Farrell in September was because of this harassment.

Judge Burdett postponed sentencing to Thursday morning in order to go over the information provided before making her final decision.

— This story was corrected at 6:58 a.m. June 13 to correct the accused's name.

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