Williams Lake city council wants judges to consider the prolific nature of offenders during prosecution

City council has put forth a resolution asking that judges be allowed to consider the prolific nature of offenders during prosecution.

Williams Lake city council has put forth a resolution asking that judges be allowed to consider the prolific nature of offenders during prosecution.

Williams Lake experiences a high number of prolific offenders that are responsible for the majority of crime and for the high rates of crime in our community, the resolution reads. It goes on to say the criminal justice system does not allow judges to consider previous convictions in making judgements for an individual charge which results in multiple incidents of crime perpetuated by the same offender being treated as separate cases.

The resolution has been forwarded for debate at the North Central Government Association being held in Quesnel May 1 – 3.

Mayor Kerry Cook said for years the city has broached the subject with the minister of justice and attorney general in the past.

“This has been a number one topic, reducing our crime and the challenge we have with prolific offenders has been an ongoing discussion for years. In Williams Lake we have a small number of people who commit the majority of the crime.”

Cook suggested change is important to consider during the prosecution stage, not just the sentencing stage.

“In the sentencing stage we recognize that it doesn’t seem to be working,” Cook said.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond told the Tribune it’s important to note that the court can and does take a person’s record and character into account when determining an appropriate sentence, after an accused has been convicted.

“Our criminal justice system is built on a basic principle that the prosecution is not allowed to prove an accused has committed an offence by introducing evidence that they are a person of bad character and someone who is in the habit of committing crimes,” Bond said. “In accordance with this principle, it is appropriate that someone’s previous record be considered at sentencing and generally not before.”

A special response to the problem of chronic or prolific offenders has been the Province’s Prolific Offender Management Pilot Project that showed a 40 per cent reduction in offender recidivism including reductions in property crime, violent offences and drug and alcohol offences.

“In fact, inmates increased their use of physical health services, housing and other social services, while having fewer negative police contacts and spent less time in custody. The co-ordination and collaboration amongst agencies as a result of the POM pilot, is continuing in order to manage these offenders in communities across B.C..

Criminal law reform, including changing the rules of evidence, falls within the authority of the federal government, Bond added.

The resolution is one of three council endorsed for the 2013 NCLGA convention.

A second resolution calls for the restriction of sale and access to bear spray and machetes because they are being used as weapons in Williams Lake.

Speaking from his Kamloops store, Todd Flodstrom, owner and manager of Surplus Herby’s, said bear spray and machete sales are gauged in his stores, including the one in Williams Lake.

“We make sure that they are behind the counter so somebody has to come up and actually talk to somebody about them. It’s not the thing to just sell it to anybody.”

With bear spray, there’s a special form that has to be filled out by the consumer so there’s tracking.

“Like a fishing license, the customer has to put out their name and identification. It’s restricted,” he said.

There’s no paper to fill out for purchasing machetes, but Flodstrom said they aren’t being sold to kids. People have to be 19 and over and sales are kept “tight.”

Under the Pest Controls Products Act the sale of bear spray in Canada is only permitted by authorized vendors who maintain proper sales records.

These vendors must gather certain information including the purchaser’s name and address, the amount purchased and a signed Notice to Purchaser Agreement (NPA). This NPA outlines the legal uses of bear spray and contains a liability warning. It is also important to note that it is illegal to sell bear spray to anyone under the age of 18 or to anyone not willing to sign the Agreement.

The third resolution calls for legislation requiring consumer labelling of genetically modified foods.

Coun. Geoff Bourdon put the GMO resolution forward because mandatory food labelling can “jump start” the public’s awareness of nutrition and health.

“From my own personal studies there seems to be quite a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about food, food and nutrition labelling and this would be a very good start,” Bourdon said.

One of the concerns from people in the food growing industry is that a lot of genetically modified plants are becoming stronger than the natural plants and are starting to take over.

“There are predictions at this point there are no more natural flax seeds in the world,” he said, adding many natural plants are being taken over and destroyed in the face of profit and marketing.



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

Just Posted

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

(File photo)
High-visibility arrest in Williams Lake nets BB gun, mistaken for assault rifle

RCMP thought the man was carrying an M16 assault-style rifle

LETTER: Improvements needed at Scout Island

The City can do better managing their responsibilities

More than 14,800 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered at clinics in Williams Lake, Alexis Creek, Big Lake, Horsefly, West Chilcotin, 100 Mile House and Clinton as of Friday, May 7. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
6,000-plus people vaccinated for COVID-19 in Williams Lake, and in 100 Mile House

Interior Health Authority provide the numbers up to May 7, 2021

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Reasonable decision making can go a long way

We’re all at fault, but today I’ll pick on politicians

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

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

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read