A woman who pleaded guilty to assaulting two men in 2015, including an RCMP officer, was acquitted of three other charges Wednesday in Penticton Provincial Court.
The charges relate to an alleged incident on Feb. 10, 2016, when Jilane Faith King was said to have threatened the original victim’s life if he showed up in court to testify against her.
King was reportedly riding her bicycle on a South Main Street sidewalk where Martin Lawrence Bukta, 69, was walking when the threat was made. At the time she was under court orders not to have direct or indirect contact with him.
King was before Judge Gail Sinclair Wednesday for threats against Bukta, obstruction of justice and breach of undertaking.
King pleaded guilty to the original charges resulting from a matter in December 2015 when she admitted to assaulting Bukta at a residence while highly intoxicated and then assaulting one of the investigating officers.
Another pre-sentence report on that matter was ordered Wednesday and King is scheduled to appear again in court on May 17 for sentencing.
Of the three charges dealt with Wednesday, Judge Sinclair was most concerned about the count of obstruction.
“The charge on count two of the information is very serious, if I were to find that attempt to obstruct, pervert of defeat the course of justice occurred, that of course strikes at the very heart of our system of justice,” said Judge Sinclair. “Of course in criminal trials one must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt, one, that offence or offences were committed and two, that the person charged and before the court was the person that committed those offences.
“I have Mr. Bukta’s evidence. I have Ms. King’s evidence. When I consider all of it I am left with a reasonable doubt. One could say it was probably Ms. King because who else would say ‘appear in court and you’re dead’ or whatever the words were but ‘probably’ doesn’t cut it here as the proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Under questioning from defence counsel Kathryn Lundman, King said at the time of the alleged incident she was having medical issues with her back and was not riding her bicycle at all.
She added that she had surgery the following March (2016) and only began riding again last November or December.
Lundman noted Bukta’s conflicting testimony when he took the stand Wednesday was “not believable,” and that he was “not a credible witness.”
She added Bukta was not initially able to identify King as his attacker from a photo lineup however was able to point her out at a later date.
In court Wednesday, Bukta, when asked by Crown prosecutor Ann Lerechs if he could identify the person who made the threats against his life, he indicated King, who was sitting in the gallery.
When Lerechs asked Bukta how he interpreted what was reportedly said to him on Feb. 10, 2016, he replied: “Threat on my life, put it this way I got home and phoned the police right away. It did frighten me.”
King said at the time of the assault in 2015 she had shared a 40-once bottle of rum with a friend and was very intoxicated.
“I recall bits and pieces, talking to him outside,” said King. “I remember just coming to and I was hitting him with something. I remember he was saying something about a blow job and I lost it, I snapped, blacked out and started hitting him.”
When asked by Lundman if he asked King for oral sex, Bukta replied: “You’ve got to be kidding me.” And asked if his answer was ‘no.’ He said: “Definitely no.”