Arson sentencing back in court

The judge, Crown, defence and the offender all expressed concerns after another delay in sentencing for an arson that took place at Cascade Gardens in October.

“What I wanna know is, I’ve been locked up for four months and you guys haven’t even completed a report?” said Sydney Leer, 18, who pleaded guilty to arson damaging property in Penticton Provincial Court on Nov. 22, 2016. “I lit a house on fire, it doesn’t take four months to write a report.”

Leer appeared in Penticton Provincial Court Feb. 6 via video from the Lower Mainland.

The residents of four townhouse units were displaced from their homes after a three-alarm fire at Cascade Gardens on Oct. 13.

Once again the court was informed of another delay through a letter from forensic psychiatric services, indicating the report would not be completed until Feb. 27.

Judge Greg Koturbash called the delay a dissapointment, and noted it was particularly distressing that the young offender, who had recently turned 18 around the time of the offence, has remained in custody this long prior to sentencing.

“This report is absolutely necessary. Ms. Leer has been in custody waiting for the conclusion of this report for a long time. However, the mental health of this young person is a significant piece of the puzzle,” said Crown counsel Kurt Froehlich. “It affects sentencing range, it affects a number of the principles of sentencing and without it I don’t think it would be fair to ask the court to pass sentence on Ms. Leer.”

Froehlich said the delay, the second of this nature, was once again due to a resource issue with forensic psychiatric services.

“It’s not something the Crown has control over,” Froehlich said.

Defence counsel for Leer, Norman Yates, also expressed dissapointment in the delay.

“I don’t mean to grandstand, but in my 28 years of appearing before this court I’ve never seen anything, in my view, that was quite as abject as this one,” Yates said. “This is a young lady, as I said, who finds herself in a very difficult situation and to say that it’s a matter of lack of resources in a province as brilliant as ours is totally unacceptable.”

Yates noted the information available in a psychological assessment is crucial for his client.

Counsels will confer with the judicial case manager on Feb. 8 to set a future date for sentencing.

Just Posted

Gold for Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa

Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

Penticton judge tosses child custody time-to-trial complaint

Though the judge sympathized with the need to speed up matters, he kept the proceedings on track

Stolen truck, resisting cops in Naramata nets 19 months

Derek John Ledgard, 24, will spend nearly 16 more months in jail after time served

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Man facing additional drug charges

Targeted enforcement unit arrests man at community centre

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read