News

Arson sentencing delayed

A dispute over the pre-sentence report has caused a delay in the sentencing of an Osoyoos male who pled guilty to setting a fire that destroyed two businesses.

Phoenix Lonsdale, who previously told the court he preferred to go by the surname McGourty but has since changed his mind, was arrested in May for arson and pled guilty on June 29.

It was alleged the 18-year-old started a blaze that destroyed the Osoyoos Christian Ministry Thrift Store and Dollar Smart Discount store. Adjacent businesses CIBC, Lakeside Travel and a dental clinic all suffered smoke and/or water damage. Prior to the fire, Lonsdale had volunteered at the thrift store, playing the piano for customers.

Defence council for Lonsdale, Kurt Froehlick, told Judge Robin Smith on Monday at the Penticton courthouse that his client is disputing information in the pre-sentence report. This includes statements that Lonsdale said he did not make to either the probation officer or psychiatrist.

Crown counsel Nashina Devji asked for an adjournment to allow for both the probation officer and psychiatrist to be present during the sentencing to testify about the disputed information.

“We are in opposition to the application. My client has been in custody since May 1, almost five-and-a-half months ... he is very anxious to have this matter resolved.

Judge Smith scoffed at the defence’s opposition, stating it would be “unjust” to not allow those who assisted in creating the pre-sentence report to testify.

“It is a serious, serious matter that needs to be dealt with properly,” said Smith.

The judge granted the adjournment on two conditions: first that counsel set a date with the trial co-ordinator immediately and that the sentencing must occur on the next available dates of either Oct. 26 or Nov. 15, and any date beyond that would not be able to include further oral evidence.

 

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