A Penticton man will be undergoing psychiatric care in the hopes of keeping him from stealing from local businesses.
Terry Voshall, age 24, appeared in Penticton court to plead guilty for several thefts. Voshall was set to appear later in the week for a bail hearing regarding separate charges.
After being deemed fit for trial earlier in September, Voshall was transported back to the Okanagan and the Oliver Correctional Centre ahead of his sentencing.
Although he was deemed fit for trial, due to his mental capacity, the court took the unusual step of making additional accommodations for Voshall’s appearance on Sept. 26, including proceedings being slowed down and spoken in simple language, as well as a member of the John Howard Society and a worker from Interior Health attending the proceedings as well.
Voshall has an IQ of under 70, which has caused considerable issues.
In the end, the judge sentenced Voshall to time served, followed by an 18-month strict probation order of house arrest.
Voshall pleaded guilty to stealing two bottles of vodka at Jak’s Liquor Store on May 22; stealing a backpack, some charging devices and a pack of face masks from Staples June 3, 2022; and the theft of shoes and a kitchen knife from Walmart on June 8, 2022. All three also breached probation orders to not be in any of those businesses.
RCMP recovered the stolen items from the Staples 20 minutes after Voshall walked out of the store.
“There are things that he feels he needs in order to survive on the streets, and he doesn’t know where else to get them, where to access them in the community,” said Voshall’s defence. “It certainly is an issue because he does understand that stealing is wrong, but at the same time, he justifies it in his mind in the manner I just explained.”
Voshall is scheduled for a bail hearing on a separate charge of invitation to sexual touching of a minor under the age of 16.
A lengthy court record, almost entirely featuring local businesses and thefts from them, was also entered into the record.
For his thefts, Crown asked for a combined 90 day jail sentence, which would be more than covered by the 109 days that Voshall has so far spent in custody.
Voshall was described as having signifigant mental health issues, including symptoms of schizophrenia and ADHD, addiction issues and complex issues including an intellectual deficit related to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
In court, Voshall had previously been considered a possible subject for a Not Criminally Responsible hearing, due to his lack of intelligence giving a limited understanding of right and wrong.
Crown Counsel stated that Voshall was neither NCR nor unfit for trial, but that there was a number of complex and difficult challenges for Voshall.
Instead of further time in custody, what was submitted to the judge was a plan for Voshall to be put into house arrest at Braemore Lodge in Penticton, and onto the wait-list for Redfish.
Braemore Lodge is an Interior Health facility in Penticton that provides rehabilitation for people with serious and persistent mental illnesses, and Redfish is an organization on the Lower Mainland for people with complex needs.
Braemore will allow for a stay upwards of a year, provide life skills training, support, and even to support his interest in fashion design including working with a local store.
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