Aug 15, 2012 / 3:20 pm
A high-risk sex offender with a checkered history in the Penticton area has been released from custody.
Judge James Threlfall handed down a sentence of four months with time served in a Penticton courtroom Wednesday at the conclusion of a breach trial for Phillipe Poisson.
Poisson, 20, was charged with one count of breach of recognizance dating back to Jan. 7 of this year. The young man, who was sexually abused as a child, has had several breaches in the past and was charged with a sexual offence as a youth living in the U.S.
Witnesses Wednesday included a 14-year-old girl who was approached by Poisson in Kaleden, where he was living prior to the breach, and his probation officer.
The girl described the fear she felt when she encountered Poisson outside the Kaleden General Store on the afternoon of Jan. 7.
As she waited for a friend outside the store, she recognized the young man walking toward her with his dog from pictures she had seen at home and school.
As she quickly walked away with her horse, she realized he was behind her. When he was about 10 meters away he asked if he could pet the animal.
When she said her horse doesn’t get along with dogs, he quickly tied up the dog and continued following her.
“It made my heart stop,” she said. “Because when I was at the store it clicked in it might have been him.”
The situation came to an end when a friend pulled up beside the girl and asked if she was alright. The woman then talked to Poisson, as the girl quickly walked home.
Later that day, her family reported the incident to the RCMP.
The probation officer said she had several meetings with Poisson regarding his recognizance and that he appeared to understand the conditions.
In closing arguments crown counsel John Swanson stated Poisson had a history of breaching court orders and the count was put in place to protect vulnerable members of the community.
Defence lawyer James Pennington admitted Poisson’s actions were a breach, but the actual encounter with the girl was innocent.
“He asked to pet the horse and she said my horse doesn’t get along with dogs,’ he said. “We don’t know his intended route, maybe he intended to go that way and to pet the horse.”
The judge noted that Poisson did indeed have a very serious criminal record, but has already spent several months in custody for the breach.
He added he would not mess with previous conditions imposed on Poisson by Judge Mark Takahashi.
Upon asking Poisson, who sat quietly through proceedings, to stand, he explained conditions to him.
“This has to be an important lesson for you,” he said. “You have served four months and should you breach again the judge will look at eight months.”
Penticton RCMP Sgt. Rick Dellebuur said the RCMP is waiting to see what Poisson’s conditions will be.
“We don’t know where he will be residing at this time, but we are aware of the situation and are monitoring it,” he said.
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