Heading back to jail didn’t sit well with Phillipe Poisson, a man determined to be a high risk to commit a sexual offence, who became unhinged and punched through a wall in court last week.
The 19-year-old was found guilty by Judge Brad Chapman of assault, assault with a weapon, possession of stolen property and a breach of parole at the Penticton courthouse on Thursday afternoon.
Prior to the outburst, Poisson had whispered to the sheriff several times during the proceedings, and at one point the sheriff firmly told Poisson to stop talking and listen to what the judge was saying.
After realizing his sentencing would be delayed, Poisson stood up and spun quickly, slapping his bare hand against the wall which punched through the drywall before he was grabbed by two sheriffs. They pulled him into the courthouse lock-up and behind closed doors a high-pitch squeal and crying was heard from Poisson along with scuffling as sheriffs yelled at him, “don’t spit on me.”
Poisson initially became unhinged throwing up his hands and covering his face as Judge Chapman gave his reasons. His discontent grew when Crown counsel Nashina Devji and defence lawyer Jim Pennington discussed when the man would be sentenced. Pennington argued that his client had been in jail since the incident occurred on May 5 and has more than likely served his time, while the Crown wanted to see a pre-sentence report on Poisson from Kelowna, where he will be sentenced on a breach charge on Sept. 1.
A much more subdued Poisson appeared by video from Kamloops Regional Correction Centre in front of Chapman on Tuesday offering an apology, saying “sorry about the other day.” Chapman sentenced Poisson to six months jail time, leaving him two months left to serve after spending the last four months behind bars. Poisson was ordered to undergo a 19-month probation which includes a Rogers order, to ensure he maintains contact with doctors and stays on his medication or faces breach charges.
“Before I came in here I was on drugs, that is why I was acting so weird. Drugs affect my vision and now I am off drugs I can see there are people in my life that care about me,” said Poisson.
During the trial last week Penticton resident David Kern testified that his neighbour had called him on May 5 informing that it appeared someone had stolen his 1950s plywood boat and was paddling their way down Skaha Lake with a two by four.
Kern said the weather made the water rough and he saw the boat was approaching the shoreline so he ran to intercept it. Kern was confronting Poisson, who was paddling the boat, when his neighbour showed up. While the details were muddy between the two men testifying, some sort of shoving match ensued between Poisson and the neighbour.
Chapman said there was some discrepancies in the evidence, but believed there was some kind of struggle and aggressive gestures made by Poisson with a knife that had a three to three-and-a-half inch blade. While neither of the men testifying was injured with the knife, Kern suffered a bite from Poisson at the base of his thumb.
Poisson was released on March 30, 2010 on a 24-month recognizance after serving time for two breach of conditions. During the hearing Judge Mark Takahashi found that Penticton RCMP concerns that Poisson was a risk to commit a sexual offence to a young person were valid. The recognizance put Poisson under several conditions in the interest of protecting the public, including a curfew.
Poisson spent most of his life living in the U.S. in institutions after being found guilty at 11 years old of an indecent assault on a five-year-old.
He came to live with his father in Penticton in April 2010. The court heard that Poisson had a tough childhood where he was both sexually and physically assaulted by members of his family and their friends. Doctors have called Poisson impulsive, childlike and have noted in his recognizance the long-term resources to help him with social skills and other issues are not available in the community.