Sentencing in South Okanagan gun violence case pushed to later date

Gun case pushed in court

A South Okanagan man who has been waiting years for sentencing on a weapons charge will have to wait a while longer, as the court agreed a psychiatric assessment and updated pre-sentence report is warranted.

Hunter Kruger, born in 1994, appeared in B.C. Provincial Court in Penticton Wednesday for sentencing relating to an incident in Oliver on May 17, 2019.

Court documents show Kruger was originally charged with possession of a shotgun for a dangerous purpose, unlawfully pointing a firearm at a person and attempted murder with a firearm, leaving another man injured. He previously pleaded guilty to lesser included charges.

Court heard that while an effort was made to send the matter to First Nations court, that was unsuccessful.

Kruger previously had his sentencing delayed in December, waiting for a Gladue report. Gladue reports are used to provide the courts with context specific to an Indigenous offender's background.

Crown counsel Ann Lerchs said since the report is facing considerable delays, Kruger decided he did not want to wait on it, and sentencing was scheduled.

While the expectation was for sentencing to proceed Wednesday, the provincial court judge found a submission on the pre-sentence report, completed more than a year ago, that was of note.

Judge Lynett Jung said that a parole officer wrote in the observation that Kruger “would benefit from psychological assessment and programming for anger management. If he wants to meaningfully address his alcohol misuse, he would benefit from a residential treatment program with counselling.”

She added that the report did not have as many details as she would have liked in reference to that situation, and that it was dated.

The author of the report also recommended a "Rogers order" be considered, under which Kruger would have to comply with help from doctors and psychiatrists and take prescriptions as directed.

Lerchs noted that both the Crown and defence are proposing a sentence that would not see Kruger spend time behind bars.

Jung ordered an update to the pre-sentence report and a psychological assessment, and the matter will be back in court in an expected 12 weeks or more.

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