Court considers consequences for convicted robber

Penticton man awaits sentencing on a host of charges, including robbery, uttering threats and obstructing a peace officer

Both the judge and Crown counsel agreed a Penticton man’s life has been a tragic case so far and want to work to help him put it on the right path.

Lawrence Jordan Brown pled guilty to three breaches of conditions, willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer and uttering threats, and was found guilty during trial of robbery, disguising face with intent to commit an offence, possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose and two counts of theft under $5,000.

The latter of those charges stems from a  Jan. 15, 2012 incident where the 23-year-old robbed a liquor store on Skaha Lake Road at knifepoint, with witnesses seeing him get into a truck that was later found to be stolen from Keremeos earlier that day.

The court heard that of concern was a similar past offence and a pre-sentence report that outlined a poly-substance abuse, putting him at considerable risk to re-offend, a tendency to respond with violence that he learned at a young age and a lack of sympathy for others. This all led to the recommendation of long-term treatment.

“It’s obviously a heartbreaking story. Looking at the psych assessment, which was very detailed, it demonstrates multi-generational abuse and dysfunction,” said Frolick.

In April 2012, Brown was listed as one of B.C.’s Top 10 most wanted car thieves when he was arrested by Penticton RCMP after a brief foot chase. He has been in jail, as of Monday, for 396 days since his arrest last year and Crown counsel Vern Frolick recommended the man serve a federal sentence to get the help he needs.

“Federal (prison) offers psychological programs, support groups. I think much more progress would be made in federal. Provincial is essentially a place to house him for a few months,” said Frolick, who then suggested a two-year sentence with a long-term probation.

Frolick also referenced Brown’s family member Wilfred (Willie) Baptiste, who is now listed as a dangerous offender, and how Brown is following a similar path. The Crown added an intervention to correct the disturbing trajectory of Baptiste’s life was unsuccessful and he was willing to listen to all options on how to assist Brown so he also doesn’t go down that road.

Two representatives of the Penticton Indian Band spoke of possible resources Brown could access if he was let out on a conditional sentence order, which Judge Gregory Koturbash said he was considering. Koturbash said while there seems to be some resources available, he would need a more detailed and concrete plan that would include a job for the 23-year-old if he was to consider going that route.

“Honestly I can say, I absolutely agree with everything that has been said,” said Brown, who appeared via video. “I realize how much I have affected the people I love. I want to have the chance to just help myself.”

Brown is scheduled to return to court on July 31 when Koturbash said he will hear the details of the Gladue report he ordered and deliver his sentence.  At that time Koturbash said he will also hear if a firm plan has been developed if the judgment is to give Brown a conditional sentence order.