Co-accused in Penticton home invasion gets jail time

Simon Bell was sentenced to approximately six months in jail for his part in a home invasion over a drug debt.

Simon Bell was sentenced to approximately six months in jail for his part in a home invasion over a drug debt.

Bell pleaded guilty to two breaches (81 days) of probation and being unlawfully in a dwelling (180 days). Charges of robbery were dropped.

Co-accused Virgil Paul was earlier sentenced to almost eight months with two years probation and Angel Dyck is still waiting to be sentenced.

Bell was with a group of people that entered a residence on Eckhardt Avenue, behind the convenience store 24-7 around 7:51 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2015. Crown counsel Ann Lerchs told the court on Thursday that Dyck had been evicted from the residence two weeks earlier and believed she was owed $75 for drugs that went missing while she was out.

Paul gave a statement to the RCMP that he had done a “hot rail.” methamphetamine heated with a crack pipe, before hopping in the van with the others to the Eckhardt Street residence.  He said he believed he was going to a party. When he got in the vehicle one man flashed a silver .22-calibre gun and someone said “we have an army now” as Dyck gave instructions to those in the vehicle.

“Sounds like she was the operating mind here, if the mind was operating,” said Judge Gail Sinclair.

The resident in the house who they were targeting lived in an upper bedroom and gave a statement that one person put a silver gun to his head while demanding the money. Another  man, later identified as Bell, had a knife or a pipe. Paul denied going to the upper bedroom. No money was taken in the incident.

Both Bell and Paul were arrested by RCMP about an hour later while walking on Winnipeg Street. A black air gun and pipe-like flashlight were found in Paul’s backpack. The court noted the silver gun, allegedly used in the incident, was never recovered.

Considering the time Bell spent in remand, Judge Sinclair said Bell will have to spend another 160 days behind bars. Once released he will also have to abide by a one-year probation order that includes no contact with the residents of the dwelling where the incident occurred or the co-accused.


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