Homeless offender receives time served

A homeless man convicted of waving a knife at an A&W worker after being refused service last year was sentenced to time served.

A homeless man convicted of waving a knife at an A&W worker after being refused service last year was sentenced to time served, basic probation and a ban on going to the fast food restaurant.

David Jeff, 65, received the sentence in Williams Lake Provincial Court Friday following a two-day trial the week before on a charge of assault with a weapon and four breaches of undertakings relating to his chronic alcohol use.

Jeff, who sat quietly in the prisoner’s box while Judge Victor Galbraith handed down the sentence, already served 87 days in prison awaiting the trial.

“Many people would recognize Mr. Jeff or even know his name,” Galbraith told the court. “He has been a fixture on these streets for decades.”

At issue during the trial, and which was revisited during sentencing, was Jeff’s mental state – namely his ability to understand what was happening during the proceedings.

Jeff showed the same confusion during sentencing.

Several times over the course of the trial, defence lawyer Burdick Smith questioned how it was possible that Jeff was found fit to stand trial by a psychiatrist before trial.

“It is clear that he suffers from substantial cognitive deficits,” Galbraith agreed during sentencing, noting Jeff had a severe alcohol-use disorder which makes him hallucinate at times as well as a possible mental illness.

“Clearly many years of alcohol abuse has taken its toll.”

Consequently Galbraith said Jeff, who has about 130 prior convictions on his criminal record, couldn’t make a connection with his responsibility for the charges against him and there is little to no hope of rehabilitation from alcohol. He added Jeff’s inability to remember would make it impossible for him to follow a probation order with very many conditions because it would lead to an “endless revolving door of breaches.”

Homeless outreach worker Wayne Lucier and Jubilee Place manager Mike Charron were called upon by the judge the week before to give some insights into the difficulties which may have led Jeff back into the system after being trouble-free for some eight years.

Lucier said supported housing would go a long way in helping Jeff, as would some kind of court order which would see his recently issued monthly old age pensioner’s cheque dispersed in equal payments weekly rather than a large monthly sum, which is what has happened since Jeff turned 65.

Galbraith said there was nothing he could do about the money issue and he wouldn’t order him to stay at Jubilee Place because he doubted Jeff would follow the order.

“Mr. Jeff there is a place for you at Jubilee Place and I hope you go there, but I’m not ordering that,” Galbraith said, who then spent extra time trying to make it clear to Jeff that he could not go to A&W.

Jeff, who seemed to have no one for support in the courtroom aside from the legal aide issued lawyer, did try to speak to Galbraith during sentencing, though much of what he said was inaudible.

Then, wearing baggy prison-issued burgundy clothing, leg shackles and handcuffs, Jeff was led out of the courtroom by a sheriff and released from custody.

Afterwards, Jeff’s lawyer shrugged and seemed to feel the case was hopeless from the onset because Jeff never should have been found fit to stand trial.

“For people like Mr. Jeff, the system is broken and there’s hardly anything you can do for him within the present system,” Burdick said of Jeff, adding the closure of mental institutions has driven people like Jeff either into prisons or the streets.

On Tuesday morning, Jeff could be seen walking down the sidewalk along Mackenzie Avenue of Williams Lake with a friend, and carrying his trademark wooden guitar.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Williams Lake RCMP are investigating after suspects assaulted two employees at a convenience store and fled with cash and merchandise. (Black Press file photo)
Williams Lake RCMP investigating robbery at local convenience store

The robbery occurred Saturday evening, Feb. 27

?Esdilagh First Nation health department staff were thrilled to rollout out the community’s first COVID-19 vaccines Friday, Feb. 26. L-R: registered nurse Sam Riczu, elder worker Marie Conway, wellness coordinator Linda Siwalace, community health representative Sharon Palmantier and youth coordinator Dakotah Casey. (photo submitted)
?Esdilagh First Nation receives first COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccination clinic held Feb. 26 for high-risk elders

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Highway 97 two-vehicle crash near 150 Mile House claims one life

The collision closed the highway at 150 Mile House

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty chairs an opioid crisis working group pushing for policies to stop the flow of illicit drugs in Canada. (Victoria Police Department photo)
‘The opioid crisis impacts all of us’: Cariboo Prince Geroge MP Todd Doherty

Todd Doherty is co-chair of Conservative Party caucus opioid crisis working group

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Skating rink welcomed

This lake one will not last long but is still worth it

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Time to check the mail: Every household to receive a Canada Post postcard this spring

Postcard can be mailed for free to any address in Canada

The humanoid sensing robot has a 3D printed finger cap that measures oxygen levels. (Dr. Woo Soo Kim)
Medical care robots being made with 3D origami in B.C. lab

Would you let a robot take your temperature?

Most Read