Jail time for bad neighbour

A bitter neighbourly dispute and police chase has earned a South Okanagan man a 135-day jail sentence.

Erich Koenig, 57, appeared in Penticton court Friday for sentencing on counts of mischief under $5,000, uttering threats and flight from police in relation to two incidents.

Court heard Koenig was involved in a bitter dispute with the neighbours of his messy property on White Lake Road, which culminated in Koenig threatening their lives in October 2018.

Koenig’s family property was the subject of numerous bylaw complaints around that time, as reported by Castanet, over its unsightly condition and lack of running water in an area outside of fire protection.

Court heard the neighbours that Koenig threatened eventually sold their house and moved away, exasperated by the situation.

“The victims in that case suffered extensively in my view, not only emotionally but also financially as a result of have the unhappy bad luck to have chosen a residence that happened to be next to this individual,” Judge Michelle Daneliuk said Friday.

While out on bail for the threats, Koenig was spotted driving while prohibited on White Lake Road. He fled from police, hitting a spike belt and continuing to travel at upwards of 90 km/hr on rims.

He eventually stopped on Highway 97 near Lakehill Road in Kaleden and was arrested after a struggle.

Court heard Koenig has struggled with a methamphetamine addiction and schizoaffective disorder for many years.

“I am really truly sorry about what happened up there,” Koenig told the judge. “I’m going to go to treatment as soon as I get out. I’m sorry again. I’ll do fine if I stay off the drugs.”

Koenig's lawyer said the messy property at the centre of the neighbour dispute is now for sale.

Judge Daneliuk accepted the joint-submission on sentencing provided by Crown and defence that requested 135-days of prison, which after credit for time served, will see Koenig released from custody Friday.

Upon release he will be subject to two years of probation, which will include a Rogers order legally binding Koenig to inform his probation officer if he's seeking treatment for addiction or mental health issues.

Koenig has been in and out of custody for years, including for a high-profile incident in 2017 that saw him blow through a highway avalanche closure.

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