Penticton courthouse.

Drug debt assault nets jail

A Penticton man considered a “career criminal” received a two year sentence for assaulting a woman while trying to collect a drug debt.

A Penticton man considered a “career criminal” received a two year sentence for assaulting a woman while trying to collect a drug debt.

Michael Gaines will remain in jail for 350 days after receiving credit for the 17 months he served while awaiting trial. He pleaded guilty to break and enter, uttering threats and assault.

Crown counsel Kurt Froehlich told the court that Gaines broke into a residence on March 8, 2014, where the victim who owed him $100 for methamphetamine lived with her 80 year old mother. Gaines pushed his way through the front door, grabbed the woman by her hair and dragged her around the house. He also threatened to injure or slit her throat if she made any noise.

“These are serious offences for someone who has a horrendous criminal record to be quite frank,” said Justice Alison Beames.

A trial was scheduled to be held in Penticton Supreme Court on Monday, but Gaines pleaded guilty to the three charges the day prior. Crown counsel and defence, in a joint submission, both agreed charges of sexual assault and two counts of robbery would be stayed because of challenges the Crown would have in proving the allegations.

Although there was no victim impact statement from the woman (whose name is being withheld because of the sexual assault charge), Froehlich said her statements to the police detail that she was left traumatized by the incident, “destroying her feeling of safety.”

During the sentencing the court heard Gaines has a total of 34 prior convictions including robbery, unlawful confinement and assault with a firearm. Gaines was also on probation when he committed the offences before the court.

Defence Ray Dieno said Gaines is a father of four that had a turbulent upbringing, including being estranged from his whole family who are dealing with substance abuse. He said Gaines was involved in the drug trade, but alcohol was his issue. Speaking on behalf of his client, Dieno said the man is tired of living a criminal lifestyle and realizes if he was found guilty of all the charges put before the court it would have meant a very serious jail sentence. He explained that Gaines had been drinking heavily at a nightclub leading up to the assault and his intoxication led to the “foolish, stupid decision to go collect on a drug debt.”

“He has had a very good record in custody. When he is not under the influence he is very polite, very sociable and a very respected individual,” said Dieno.

Gaines was also ordered two years probation with conditions including no contact with the victim and to abstain from the use of alcohol.


Just Posted

Goalies seal Penticton Vees win in exhibition game versus Warriors

The Penticton Vees and West Kelowna Warriors in BCHL exhibition action

The Ice Queen of the blues coming to Penticton

Award winning blues artist Sue Foley coming to the Dream Café

Teamwork brings injured South Okanagan osprey back to its nest

A South Okanagan Osprey is back with its family after injuring itself

Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee supports added regulations, rezoning of Three Blind Mice

The recommendations will be presented to Penticton city council at an upcoming meeting

Warmer fall weather could extend wildfire season: AccuWeather

Above seasonal temperatures are expected throughout September, October and November

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

Vancouver Island father says he attempted suicide a month before murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Okanagan Rail Ride gathering steam ahead of inaugural race

The ride is a non-competitive event celebrating the Okanagan Rail Trail

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Musaic Vocal Ensemble seeks additional voices

Summerland-based choir has performed for past 25 years

Thermal imaging cameras eye Salish Sea in hopes of better detecting whales

Cameras installed at BC Ferries’ terminal on Galiano Island, and off southern Gulf Islands

BREAKING: Province approves Surrey police force

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth green-lights city’s municipal police force

Concerts, workshops and more will be held in Summerland Aug 24 to Sept. 1

The Ryga Arts Festival, which runs Aug. 24 to Sept. 1 in… Continue reading

Most Read