In Penticton’s courthouse on Monday, an assault file in which a woman bit an Interior Health outreach support worker took a turn for the positive after the worker offered continued assistance for when she gets out of jail. (Dustin Godfrey/Western News)

Penticton assault file takes a turn for the positive

The victim, a support worker bit by a client, offered continued help after her release from OCC

An assault file in Penticton’s courthouse took a positive turn Monday, after the woman who kicked and bit an Interior Health support worker was met with support from the person she assaulted.

The woman, who will not be named due to her mental health struggles, had attended an Interior Health outreach centre on Nov. 14, 2017, asking for her support cheques. When she was told she could only have one at a time, she became irate, saying she needed all of them because she was going to Alberta, and was escorted out by support worker Brian Midwood.

While he escorted the woman out, she began to punch and kick him, biting him on his right hand.

A mental health assessment found the woman to be criminally responsible, but in mental duress at the time of the incident.

In total, the woman had been in jail for 50 days, adding up to 75 days with enhanced credit. Crown lawyer Ann Lerchs said the incident was well within the time served range, noting she would have sought 14 to 21 days in jail, and asked for 12 months of probation.

Defence lawyer Norm Yates said the woman was transported to the Colony Farm psychiatric hospital since the incident, which she told Yates was a “healthy” setting for her.

Midwood, who was in the courtroom Monday, said the outreach team was looking to get back in touch with the woman to get her set up after her release from the Okanagan Correctional Centre on Monday.

“We see her on at least a weekly basis. Sometimes daily,” Midwood told Judge Jeremy Guild. “At the moment she’s homeless, so that’s a challenge in itself.”

Midwood was granted permission to address the woman, who he told the judge might have difficulties getting services, like a shelter bed. He told the woman to come directly to the outreach centre after she got to Penticton so they could provide her with services.

“We’re going to go to the shelter and see if we can get her a bed and then we’ll advise the prison as well,” Midwood said.

“You’re ahead of the game,” Guild responded, adding that the woman’s “simple” probation order would include a line that she make efforts to keep her mental health in good shape.

“It’s also great (she) continues to have support from the victim, Mr. Midwood, in his capacity working for Interior mental health, and arrangements to be made to try to ensure she’s not homeless when she gets here shortly later today.”

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

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