Panhandlers sentenced to community service

Two men caught soliciting drivers for money near a Penticton gas station have been given community service.

Two men caught soliciting drivers for money near a Penticton gas station in violation of a rarely used provincial law have been sentenced to 15 hours of community service.

Jordan Brian Ricketts and Erwin Alois Sedlmeier were ticketed under the Safe Streets Act that was created a decade ago to cut down on aggressive panhandling. The men had each completed 15 hours of community service by the time they were sentenced on Thursday in provincial court in Penticton to absolute discharges, meaning the offences will be removed from their records.

Defence counsel James Pennington said both were caught panhandling on Feb. 13, 2014, on a median near the Chevron station at the intersection of Eckhardt Avenue and Railway Street.

He told the court Ricketts and Sedlmeier went out that day to supplement their disability pensions, which are difficult to stretch.

“By the time you get to the end of the month, the pot is dry, so they resorted to panhandling,” said Pennington. “That’s how they made up the deficit at the end of the month.”

He also noted his clients had at one point done odd jobs for local non-profits to make ends meet, but “funding has more or less dried up for these community organizations.”

Both men, who completed their community service on Oct. 2, donated their time picking weeds around Penticton hospital.

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