Noting the “unusual” circumstances that landed a prolific offender back behind bars, a judge on Monday cut him a break.
On what was to have been the start of a two-day trial in provincial court in Penticton, Ronald Arthur Teneycke, 52, instead pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, flight from police and breach of probation related to a series of run-ins with the RCMP earlier this year.
He was handed a nine-month jail term, but given 1.5 days’ credit for each of the 179 days he’d already spent in jail, resulting in a sentence of time served.
Crown counsellor Cory LaBoucane told the court that Teneycke, a convicted sex offender and once the subject of a police warning about his risk to the public, was spotted by Mounties on March 12, 2014, parked near the bird sanctuary at Vaseux Lake.
LaBoucane said plainclothes officers suspected Teneycke, who was on probation for an October 2013 drug conviction, had been using drugs and knew he was the subject of a complaint from an Oliver man whose son Teneycke had befriended.
Based on that information, LaBoucane explained, one officer watched Teneycke from a distance using binoculars, while the other pulled up beside Teneycke’s truck in an unmarked van and activated his emergency lights, prompting Teneycke to flee.
The pursuit saw Teneycke lead three police vehicles to Weyerhaeuser Road outside Okanagan Falls, where police quit the chase when it went up a rough side road.
The next morning, LaBoucane continued, a logging truck driver called 911 after spotting Teneycke’s vehicle still in the area.
Mounties found Teneycke parked by a shack on Weyerhaeuser Road, and he fled again, clipping a police car before hitting a ditch when a logging truck driver deliberately swerved in his path.
LaBoucane asked for a sentence of up to a year in jail and a three-year driving prohibition, since two of Teneycke’s 27 prior convictions were driving-related.
Defence counsel Michael Welsh cast doubt on the RCMP’s grounds for pursuing Teneycke in the first place.
He contended his client was “simply pulled over in a parking lot off the side of the road, minding his own business” at Vaseux Lake when the Mountie in the unmarked van pulled up and flashed his gun.
“Mr. Teneycke panicked. He didn’t know who it was and he took off,” Welsh said.
Welsh asked for time served and no driving prohibition, since his client’s primary source of income is a firewood business for which he needs a vehicle since “nobody will hire him in this community.”
In his reasons for judgement, Judge James Threlfall noted Teneycke wasn’t facing criminal charges prior to the encounter that ended in his arrest, and that there were competing versions of events.
“The circumstances are somewhat unusual,” the judge said, adding, however, that the incident took place in a remote area away from the public.