Police in Kelowna have taken the extraordinary step of warning the public about the release of a prolific offender.
RCMP say they arrested Justin Wayne Collins, 45, on Sunday for assault, mischief, theft of mail and breach of probation. The following day, he appeared before the courts and was released with conditions.
Online records show he was released by B.C. Provincial Court Judge Andrew Tam. While Judge Tam appears to feel the release of Collins can be mitigated with conditions, the Kelowna RCMP is now publicly disagreeing.
In a news release Tuesday, Kelowna RCMP say Collins has no fixed address and is unsuitable for supportive housing. And while he is linked with health services in the community, he is not accessing them consistently and “is presenting no signs of becoming healthier in society.”
Collins has generated 421 police files and 64 charges against him since 2016, including assaults, robbery, theft, mischief and indecent acts.
RCMP announced Tuesday that the presence of Collins “in your business or neighbourhood creates a substantial concern for public safety.”
While there are many court imposed conditions on Collins, police say he has blatantly ignored them in the past and shows no respect for the justice system.
Police are asking the public to call them immediately if Collins is breaking the law for “creating unsafe spaces” in your neighbourhood “as we will respond to bring this repeat offender back to the courts.”
Kelowna RCMP commander Supt. Kara Triance has renewed her criticisms of the “catch and release” justice system recently in the wake of a StatsCanada report that saw the Central Okanagan log the highest crime rate in the country among medium and large cities.
“The Kelowna RCMP continue to make arrests and bring Justin Collins to court, however without adequate consequences or compulsory pathways to mental health and substance use programs, our public is at risk. Justin Collins is a repeat offender who has no regard for the safety and well being of others,” said Triance.
Last week, David Eby, BC NDP leadership candidate and the frontrunner to be B.C.'s next premier suggested compulsory or involuntary mental health and addictions care should be rolled out in the province.