Security heightened for hearing in Penticton court
Metal detectors at the court entrance and a warning from sheriffs came at the start of the preliminary inquiry for the man accused of a brutal assault in Penticton.
David Wesley Bobbitt is facing charges of attempted murder, two counts of unlawful confinement or imprisonment, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, assault with a weapon and two counts of uttering threats, stemming from an incident that took place on the August long weekend last year.
A 22-year-old Penticton woman, whose name is under a publication ban to protect her identity, and her toddler son were held inside Dave’s Second Hand Store for over 10 hours on July 30. It is alleged Bobbitt severely beat the woman and confined her to a bed in his store on Ellis Street with her son nearby. Bobbitt was arrested, following a four-day manhunt, just south of Oliver.
The emotionally charged first appearance for Bobbitt at the Penticton Courthouse last August was not going to be repeated warned sheriffs.
“It was a bit of a circus last time,” said the sheriff to the gallery on Monday before the proceedings got underway. “There will be no outbursts this time. We will not tolerate it, and anyone who does, we will throw them out.”
During his first appearance, Bobbitt was mouthing words to the courtroom filled with the woman’s family and friends. This resulted in one man standing and yelling obscenities at Bobbitt from the gallery. The exchanges continued afterwards as Bobbitt was escorted by sheriffs to the transport vehicle. The father of the toddler charged the chain link fence and Bobbitt yelled out, “I’ll get you later.”
On Monday, those entering the gallery for the preliminary inquiry had to walk through a metal detector. Besides the sniffles of family trying to hold back tears, this time the gallery remained quiet. Not that the intensity still wasn’t there. One sheriff warned a man that he would be booted out of the courtroom if he didn’t stop staring and smiling at Bobbitt. The accused has remained emotionless through the testimony so far.
Crown counsel said the preliminary inquiry, held to determine if there is enough evidence to go to trial, will run until Wednesday this week and four days are scheduled next week if more time is needed.
According to Crown, the first part of the inquiry would focus on the witnesses and RCMP testimony and the second part would be dedicated to the arrest and statements received from Bobbitt, which includes 8.5 hours of recordings. There is a publication ban on evidence provided during the preliminary inquiry, which is being heard by Judge Gale Sinclair.