Oliver & Osoyoos  

Stranger allegedly found with gun, drugs in Oliver home gets more time to ponder guilty plea

Armed stranger in court

The woman facing charges for a bizarre trespassing incident in Oliver involving a sawed-off gun fentanyl has been given more time to ponder whether to plead guilty.

Caitlynne Talia Cawston, born in 1998, appeared in Penticton Provincial Court Monday, expected to enter a guilty plea to charges stemming from last winter.

According to a police press release at the time, in the early hours of Jan. 8, 2023 RCMP were called to a residence on Road 18 for a report of a female, now known to be Cawston, passed out in a chair.

The occupants had only been alerted to her presence when their dogs woke them up.

When police arrived, they found a .22 calibre sawed-off rifle in the stranger's hand hidden beneath a big purse. They placed the woman in handcuffs without her waking up.

It was later determined the firearm was inoperable.

Cawston told police she thought it was the house of someone she knew and entered through the unlocked front door. She did not threaten the occupants of the house.

Sgt. Don Wrigglesworth, Oliver RCMP detachment commander, called the incident "very concerning."

In court Monday, Cawston appeared confused as to what her lawyer had informed the court she was prepared to plead guilty to, mainly being in the house without permission and interfering with the lawful enjoyment of that house, and possession of the drugs and inoperable firearm.

She told her lawyer she had found the gun on a beach in Oliver.

Cawston's lawyers explained her client had been on substances at the time, and didn't remember much of the night, and while she admitted to being in the house uninvited and possessing the illegal items, she was sure she would not have intended to hurt anyone.

Judge Gregory Koturbash tried to explain that her intent was not the point, and interfering with lawful enjoyment can include psychological harm.

"She would have known, just entering the house with something like that, that if somebody's home, they're going to be freaked out," Koturbash said, later addressing Cawston directly, after she seemed unsure.

"I want to take the time because I want to make sure that you're guilty to something that you agree you're guilty of. And if you're not, then I can't accept your plea."

Cawston's lawyer then suggested she direct another lawyer to Cawston to try and explain the situation, to which Koturbash agreed, with the caveat that this is the last delay.

Koturbash ordered her to appear in court again in mid-January, either to enter a guilty plea or move forward with not guilty and a trial.

"And we're going to put in big, bold letters that this file needs to move forward."

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