Baby snatcher banished

It marks the end of what could be one of the strangest files to ever come through the Penticton courthouse.

An Osoyoos woman who barged into a young mother’s home wearing a wig and rubber gloves, brandishing a butcher’s knife asking to “see the baby” was sentenced to federal time and banished from town Friday. 

Sharon Forner, 45, received a little over 40 months in prison and three years of probation, during which time she will be banished from Osoyoos. 

“Not only did Ms. Forner’s crime impact the victim, but it also had a serious impact on the civilians of Osoyoos and entire Okanagan Valley,” Judge Gregory Koturbash said. “Parents and children have seen the chilling video on the internet. Most are left wondering how something like this — something straight out of an Alfred Hitchcock horror movie — could happen in their small town or valley.”

After credit for time already served, Forner has another two years in jail. 

Koturbash explained any sentence above two additional years would not allow him to include any form of probation upon release, something he wanted to do to ensure Forner could not return to Osoyoos.

Victim Katherine Rinas had requested the banishment order, as she lived less than 200 metres away from Forner. Koturbash agreed that the town of Osoyoos was simply too small for them to both reside there. 

Rinas told reporters outside the courthouse she was “very happy” with the banishment order. 

“I plan to reside there as long as I can, hopefully for my lifetime, so I like that she’s hopefully never coming back,” she said, adding she’s overall satisfied with the sentence. 

“Happy for the public. I can play outside in the front yard with my girls and not be worried about anything,” she said.

Court heard that before her arrest, Forner was a 15-beer-a-day alcoholic for over a decade. She has a previous conviction for stealing alcohol and can no longer work after hurting herself drunk driving.  

She had multiple relationships fail because of her inability to conceive, something the defence tried to frame as “tragic,” but was rejected by the judge “problems not unlike others that do not resort to crime.”

Forner claimed to have remembered nothing of the incident, but Judge Koturbash noted that when she was initially arrested she declared she “couldn’t afford a baby,” before police made any mention of the incident.

The judge said he was left with no other conclusion than to believe Forner was there to either steal or harm the infant. 

Forner has repeatedly expressed regret and apologized for the incident since pleading guilty and has voiced a desire to attend treatment. The defence wasn’t able to link the crime to any sort of mental health issues, but the bizarre nature of the offence led the Crown, defence and judge to agree it was just too strange to be blamed simply on booze — and left the door open to undiagnosed issues. 

In addition to being banished from Osoyoos, Forner’s probation terms include abstaining from alcohol, not possessing knives, masks and avoiding contact with those under 14 years of age.

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