Accused’s demands delay sentencing

Oliver man claims to need wheelchair for sentencing on unlawful confinement

An Oliver man refused to comply with sheriffs in jail to appear for his sentencing by video in Penticton on Tuesday.

Shaun Aaron Stelkia was to be sentenced for a charge of unlawful confinement stemming from a July 2011 incident he was found guilty of. The man also had seven breach charges that were supposed to be taken care of on Tuesday in court as well when he appeared.

“He is refusing to come to the room for video. The sheriffs can physically move him to get him to the room for court if your honour makes that order,” Crown counsel Catherine Crockett told the judge.

Stelkia, who has previous convictions for assault and assault with a weapon, led a four-hour standoff at the Indian Grove Riding Stable on July 23, 2011. RCMP received a call from a woman who said she escaped from a vehicle driven by a man she recently met who was holding her against her will. While investigating the incident, Mounties were informed Stelkia had a handgun and had told people he was “going to wait for the cops.”

With that knowledge, about 20 members of the RCMP emergency response team arrived at Indian Grove Riding Stable beside the Nk’Mip Campground where Stelkia worked and was believed to be living.

The RCMP members surrounded the stables and eventually found Stelkia passed out on the property around 7 a.m. the following morning. He has been in custody on this matter for 213 days.

“It is the Crown’s position that even if sentencing is not today, that he should not be released even if this gets put over for another month. The Crown will be seeking significantly more time,” said Crockett.

Crown said Stelkia indicated he has some sort of knee injury and was in need of a wheelchair, but according to the corrections officers, he did not need one. Because of this, coupled with security concerns, corrections officers were hesitant in providing the prisoner a wheelchair.

Judge Meg Shaw did order the corrections officers to provide a wheelchair for Stelkia, but in the end the sentencing was adjourned. Defence counsel David Silverman said he did not want his client to be absent from the sentencing, nor did he think it would get the court anywhere if they forced him to the video room.

“It could provoke an opposite kind of reaction that would not facilitate sentencing in an appropriate way,” said Silverman.

Stelkia’s sentencing has been adjourned and a new court date for sentencing of Dec. 14 has been scheduled.