Vernon man charged for shining lasers at planes last September

Plane laser suspect charged

A man has now been charged for allegedly pointing a high-powered laser at a plane from a park in Vernon a year ago.

Blake Everett Dergez was arrested in Vernon's Becker Park on the evening of Sept. 9, 2021, after a representative of Nav Canada contacted police and informed them someone was pointing a green laser at planes flying over Vernon.

Officers found Dergez in the park and arrested him. At the time, police said Dergez assaulted officers while he being arrested, but Dergez later accused the arresting officers of punching and kneeing him in the face during the arrest.

While Dergez was charged with a handful of offences following the incident, including five counts of assault with a weapon, assaulting an officer, uttering threats and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, he has now been charged for allegedly shining the laser at a plane.

On Sept. 7, Dergez was charged with two offences under the Aeronautics Act, including engaging in behaviour that endangers the safety or security of an aircraft in flight by “lessening the ability of any crew member to perform that crew member’s duties.”

A conviction under the act can result in a maximum fine of $100,000 or to a maximum five years imprisonment.

Dergez is set to next appear in Vernon court on the matter on Thursday, while his initial charges from the incident remain outstanding. He's set to next appear in court on the other charges at the end of the month.

Dergez has a criminal record dating back to 2003 in Vernon, Penticton, Kelowna, Abbotsford and Fort St. John.

He's currently incarcerated at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre after he was recently transferred from Oliver's Okanagan Correctional Centre in late August.

In a letter sent to Castanet from jail, dated Sept. 9, 2022, Dergez says he has spent more than 100 days in segregation since his arrest last September, including 32 days in a row. He claims he's been kept in segregation to “torture a confession or plea deal out of me.”

“A year of being harassed, tormented and tortured by every way they can in here,” Dergez says in his letter.

“It seem there is no hope or help in sight and BC Corrections are above the law and can continue to do as they wish with no legal recourse or repercussions.”

He notes he's attempted suicide while incarcerated “as a result of the unrelenting torture.”

He also says he's been through four different lawyers so far and he's been unable to get a new lawyer appointed through legal aid, believing he's been “blacklisted.”

Dergez makes no mention of the allegations against him in his letter. And while he has previously said he wants to sue the RCMP for their alleged assault against him during his arrest, it appears no lawsuit has been filed at this time.

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