A South Okanagan woman convicted of threatening an Osoyoos mother and seven-week-old baby, while wielding a knife and trying to enter the home, won her appeal Tuesday for a reduced sentence.
The decision made in court cites that the sentencing judge erred in principle in a manner that impacted the sentence he imposed.
In August 2019, Sharon Forner pleaded guilty to one count of break and enter to commit an indictable offence and was sentenced to three years, four months and 11 days, less time served, plus three years probation. The probation order included a term that would banish her from Osoyoos.
The sentence stemmed from an incident on August 8, 2018, in which Forner appeared at the victim’s door visibly intoxicated, wearing a wig, and asked to see the victim’s baby. She then entered the victim’s home holding a large butcher knife. The incident ended when the victim successfully pushed Forner back outside.
Forner appealed the custodial portion of her 40-month sentence, as well as the banishment term in her probation order.
In a BC Court of Appeal decision published April 7, Forner’s custodial sentence was reduced to 20 months, and her banishment was removed.
Justice Christopher Grauer’s decision, which references Forner’s long history of depression and alcohol abuse disorder, cites that the sentence from Justice Gregory Koturbash ‘erred in principle’ by failing to treat Forner’s mental illness as a mitigating factor, and by ‘treating her addiction as significantly aggravating, where one contributed to the other and both contributed to the offence’.
Also, the decision by Grauer cites that Forner had no history of violence and no physical injury.
It also cites that the sentence was unfit, and the banishment term was unreasonable.
“The result was a disproportionate sentence that failed to take proper account of the impact of the appellant’s addiction and mental health issues on her moral culpability, as well as the absence of any history of violent acts,” said Grauer in his decision.
The decision further explains that this was an isolated event and that the sentence given did not facilitate the offender’s rehabilitation.
Grauer found that the non-contact terms of the order given adequately provide for the victim’s safety and security.
The Honourable Madam Justice Dickson and the Honourable Mr. Justice Abrioux agreed with Grauer’s decision.