A man determined to be a pedophile with a high risk to reoffend was released back into the community on Wednesday after being placed on a 24-month recognizance.
In a hearing held at the Penticton provincial courthouse, Judge Mark Takahashi found the Penticton RCMP’s concerns that Phillipe Poisson was a risk to commit a sexual offence to a young person were valid. The recognizance will put Poisson under several conditions in the interest of protecting the public
Takahashi said the 19-year-old has a “most tragic,” history that included being a victim of sexual abuse by his grandfather and friends of his grandfather from the age of six to 11. He was then charged with a sexual offence and was institutionalized until he was 18. The judge described Poisson’s situation as one that is not largely his own fault, but rather he was a product of a horrible upbringing.
Poisson spent most of his life living in the U.S. until he came to live with his father in Penticton in April 2010. By July, RCMP issued a public safety bulletin about a high-risk pedophile who had moved to the Penticton area.
In his judgment, Takahashi said during Poisson’s short time in Penticton he was found trying to contact a 15-year-old girl, a 14-year-old boy and a picture of a young child that appeared to be at Skaha Beach was found on his computer.
Dr. Melinda Nichols, a psychiatrist at the Penticton Regional Hospital, testified that on May 7 Poisson was admitted into the hospital following a disturbance between he and his father at a social services office. She said at the time Poisson was distressed and said he had thoughts of suicide.
Nichols said there is nowhere in the area that treats pedophilia and the personality trait disorders that Poisson demonstrated and he would probably need life-long treatment. Poisson was discharged from the hospital on July 9 and out-patient appointments set up with Nichols to monitor his medication. The doctor testified Poisson missed his last three appointments and the final time they met she believed he had stopped taking his medication.
Defence council Jim Pennington, who largely did not disagree that the recognizance should be put on Poisson, argued that a lack of resources is failing to allow proper treatment for Poisson.
“With financial cutbacks all around, it might not be that long before we see him (Poisson) again,” said Pennington in his conclusion.
Poisson must follow a number of conditions including not be in the presence of any person under the age of 16 and not to attend public parks, schools, daycares, pools and not to possess any device capable of accessing the internet unless approved by a probation officer.
The procedure did not assess guilt or innocence of any particular offence, but was entirely concerned with preventive measures to reduce a perceived risk. Poisson has not been charged with an offence and is presumed to be innocent.