A brain-injured man in court on charges related to three alcohol-fuelled crimes told a judge he had to drink to stave off a heart attack.
Daryl Belseck, 51, on Friday in provincial court in Penticton pleaded guilty to eight separate charges related to the trio of incidents, which spanned a period of 10 days.
The offences include mischief, uttering threats, assault and assaulting a peace officer. In total, Belseck was sentenced to 225 days in jail. He was credited for 170 days’ time served.
Crown counsel Vern Frolick told the court that Belseck was first picked up around 2 a.m. on Nov. 27, 2012, near the Lakeside Resort after a dispute with a taxi driver over a $10 fare. During the melee that followed, Belseck kicked the driver, then punched a witness who tried to help. Police were called and Belseck spent the night in jail
Hours after his release later that morning, police were called to pick up Belseck at the now-closed downtown Tim Hortons, where he showed up with a wound on his face and asked an employee to call an ambulance. The employee locked the shop to prevent Belseck from entering, but he became agitated and kicked in the glass door.
Frolick said police next dealt with Belseck on Dec. 7, after he was refused service at the Three Gables liquor store and, in anger, knocked the shop’s cash register to the floor. A store employee tussled with Belseck, who then went outside and threw rocks through a window. Police took Belseck to the hospital for treatment of injuries he sustained in the scuffle.
While at hospital, he told an officer, “You’re going to get a bullet in your head,” and, “I’m going to drag your wife behind my car,” Frolick related to the court.
Defence counsel Dave Johnson said his client has a drinking problem, which exacerbates the effects of a brain injury he received in 1999 when he was swarmed by a group of assailants who beat him with a baseball bat.
“One of the results of the assault was to make Mr. Belseck very leery of something like that happening again,” Johnson told the court, adding that makes his client quick to violence if he feels threatened.
Belseck, who appeared by video from Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, said he was protecting himself during the dispute at the Lakeside Resort, and was agitated at Tim Hortons because he’d been assaulted moments beforehand.
Judge Wilfred Klinger noted that at the time of the offences, Belseck was under a February 2011 court order from Alberta that included a condition that banned him from drinking.
Belseck explained that he has a heart condition and couldn’t afford nor access medication during his spree, so he turned to booze.
“I simply thought that drinking alcohol would thin my blood out so I wouldn’t have a heart attack,” he said.
Klinger ordered Belseck to complete one year of probation when his jail term is finished. Under the order, Belseck is prohibited from using alcohol or drugs, and is not allowed inside bars, liquors stores or any Tim Hortons. He was also ordered to pay restitution for the door and window he broke.