Despite sheriffs indicating safety concerns, the sentencing and dangerous offender hearing for David Wesley Bobbitt will take place at the Penticton courthouse.
On Tuesday, Justice Geoff Barrow agreed with both Crown counsel and defence that the proceedings, set for four weeks beginning June 2, 2014, should stay in the community where the vicious attack took place.
Bobbitt pled guilty earlier this year to aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault, two counts of uttering threats, assault with a weapon and unlawful confinement.
The incident involved a Penticton woman at Bobbitt’s second-hand store.
The woman’s toddler, who witnessed the assault, went unharmed.
“This is a Penticton case and the community deserves to see it followed through to its logical conclusion,” said Pennington.
The Crown argued witnesses they plan to bring forward to testify during the dangerous offender portion would be too fragile to travel to Kelowna and it would put stress on the victim and her family to travel.
Sheriff Staff Sgt. Tracey Biro said there were concerns about safety as they would have to bring Bobbitt through a public space to get him to the second floor Supreme Court room.
Justice Barrow also heard during an appearance on Nov. 2 that a comment was made towards Bobbitt from the public gallery that could be perceived as threatening.
The Crown said that person has been spoken to since and informed that their actions could mean the hearing could be moved to Kelowna.
Barrow said any new safety concerns that arise before the hearing should be brought up during the pre-hearing conference which is expected to happen in April.
He also said he would consider putting an injunction that would prevent the public from being in the vicinity where sheriffs move prisoners to the transport vehicles and he has “no hesitation” in moving the hearing to a secure courtroom in Kelowna if anything happens.
An area outside the courthouse where only a chain link fence separates the public from prisoners was also pointed out to be a concern by sheriffs after a confrontation during Bobbitt’s first appearance after he was arrested.
Biro said he will be requesting more resources for the hearing including three extra sheriffs to handle the duties and a metal detector that the public would have to go through before entering the court room.