Judge denies Teneycke’s bid to shorten probation

High-profile offender loses appeal to have three-year term reduced, but still has an option available to restore his freedom

After winning his freedom from jail earlier this month, a high-profile criminal was unable this week to escape a lengthy probation order attached to an earlier offence.

Ronald Arthur Teneycke, 52, unsuccessfully appealed to a B.C. Supreme Court judge Wednesday in Penticton to overturn the three-year probationary term he was handed for an October 2013 conviction for drug possession and breach of a previous court order.

Court heard at his sentencing hearing last year that Teneycke was arrested after he and a 17-year-old girl were observed snorting methamphetamine in his truck in the parkade attached to the Penticton casino.

In arguing for the three-year probation order, Crown counsellor John Swanson told that hearing “numerous psychological profiles have been prepared on (Teneycke’s) behaviour and virtually all found he is a moderate to high risk to reoffend violently or sexually.”

The provincial court judge at that hearing agreed and handed down a six-month jail sentence, plus the three-year probation order, conditions of which include a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and a requirement Teneycke have no contact with females under 18 unless approved by his probation officer.

But in his B.C. Supreme Court appeal Wednesday, Teneycke’s new lawyer, Michael Welsh, argued for the probationary term to be reduced to just one year since the provincial court judge was “overly swayed by what is questionable use of testing that was done on Mr. Teneycke.”

The intent of the order was “really just a matter of keeping (Teneycke) under the thumb of the correctional service because of concerns that were raised about his potential for recidivism,” added Welsh.

He also argued the sentence was “not proportionate to the gravity of the offence,” which was his client’s first drug offence and involved just 0.4 grams of methamphetamine.

Crown counsellor Cory LaBoucane noted in his reply to Welsh that Teneycke had been handed three-year probation orders for unrelated offences in 2007 and 2010, so precedent for such a term existed.

In his reasons for dismissing the appeal, Justice Terence Schultes said court transcripts from the October 2013 hearing indicate Teneycke’s previous lawyer agreed to three years’ probation in exchange for the Crown dropping a separate bid to have a more restrictive two-year supervisory order placed on him.

Such orders can be sought by the Crown against offenders who it believes pose a risk to public safety, but who have already completed their sentences.

Schultes also ruled the provincial court judge rightly took Teneycke’s background into consideration.

“The character of the offender is always an issue at sentencing,” Schultes said.

There’s still a chance Teneycke can have his probation order amended and shortened, since he’s scheduled to go before a provincial court judge on an as-yet undetermined date to make that application.

It’s the only matter Teneycke currently has before the courts, after being sentenced Sept. 10 to time served for an incident involving a police chase last spring near Okanagan Falls.

Teneycke was the subject of a public warning in that community in 2007 when he moved there after completing a 12-year jail sentence for sexually assaulting and confining a 17-year-old girl.