Wig-wearing, knife-wielding Osoyoos woman gets banishment order lifted - InfoNews

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Wig-wearing, knife-wielding Osoyoos woman gets banishment order lifted

Sharon Forner in a clip from home security cameras from the incident.
Image Credit: Global
April 07, 2020 - 12:42 PM

The Osoyoos woman involved in a 2018 incident that gained widespread attention for its nightmarish quality had her sentence eased by the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Sharon Forner was sentenced in August, 2019 to 731 days in prison and was banished from being within 50 kilometres of Osoyoos. She'd earlier pleaded guilty to one charge of break and enter with intent to commit a crime after forcing her way into her neighbour's house while wearing a wig, kitchen gloves and brandishing a butcher knife.

In a court of appeal decision released today, April 7, Justice Christopher Grauer reduced the custodial sentence for Forner to 20 months less time served and lifted the banishment due in large part to the Forner's mental health and how it was weighed in the sentencing process.

“The judge erred in principle by failing to treat the appellant’s mental illness as a mitigating factor and by treating her addiction as significantly aggravating, where one contributed to the other, and both contributed to the offence,” Grauer wrote.

“Moreover, there was no history of violence and no physical injury. The result was an unfit sentence. The banishment term was unreasonable.”

Grauer went on to say that the incident was an isolated event and the term of imprisonment did not help with Forner’s rehabilitation.

In fact, he said, the non-contact terms of the order adequately provides for the victim’s safety and security.

Grauer revisited the details of the day of the crime to offer more context for his decision. He said on Aug. 8, 2018, Forner, visibly intoxicated and wearing a long dark wig and dish gloves, knocked at the door of the house of her neighbour.

Katherine Rinas was at home with her four-year-old daughter and newborn baby and answered the door. Forner asked to see the baby.

Rinas shut the door on Forner, who then re-opened it and entered the home, wielding a large butcher knife over her head. 

"She did not get very far," Grauer said. "Showing considerable fortitude, Rinas grabbed (Forner), pushed her out the door, and called 911. The police tracked (Forner) down quite quickly."

Forner is 47 years old and grew up on a farm in Keremeos.

She started working at the age of 15, and last worked cleaning bathrooms at a campsite in June 2018.

In March 2009 she was hospitalized for “suicidal thoughts and depression without an active plan”, and in August 2009 after having consumed “a handful of prescribed medication”.

Diagnoses at that time included Depressive Disorder, Alcohol Dependence, and Polysubstance Abuse.

"At the time of the offence, (Forner) was unemployed, lived alone, and collected a disability pension," Grauer wrote. "She had been married once, and was in a later relationship with another man who was both physically and emotionally abusive.  Both relationships were complicated by her medical inability to have children."

Forner also had a 16-year history of alcohol abuse and was drinking 12 to 15 drinks daily in combination with prescribed psychiatric medication.

"She expressed what was considered to be significant and genuine remorse about the offence, but said that she had no memory of it, and could not explain it," Grauer wrote.

These circumstances formed the basis of the appeal application, which said the judge improperly weighed aggravating and mitigating factors.

"I consider that the sentencing judge erred in principle in a manner that impacted the sentence he imposed," Grauer said.

"The result was a disproportionate sentence that failed to take proper account of the impact of the appellant’s addiction and mental health issues on her moral culpability, as well as the absence of any history of violent acts. I would reduce the sentence to 20 months’ imprisonment, less time served. I would also remove from the probation order the term preventing the appellant from being within 50 km of Osoyoos, BC. I would not otherwise interfere with the terms of probation."

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