Despite the strides he had made on his sobriety, it was not enough to keep an Osoyoos man out of jail for a 2020 shooting.
Colten Jacob Thorsen, 27, appeared in Penticton Supreme Court on Aug. 28 to hear his fate.
The presiding justice had asked in June for more time to determine what an appropriate sentence would be for the charges of aggravated assault and uttering threats Thorsen had pleaded guilty to.
On the night of the incident in October 2020, a verbal argument between Thorsen and his victim that continued over texts, including a number with the victim urging Thorsen to hurry up, ended with Thorsen showing up and shooting the man in the abdomen, then threatening another resident of the house.
The original charges Thorsen was facing were attempted murder, two counts of uttering threats and one count of pointing a firearm. Thorsen pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault, and one of the uttering threats. The other charges were stayed.
Crown prosecution was seeking between 3.5 to four years of jail time, while defence instead was seeking a conditional sentence that would be served in the community instead.
Defence argued that over two years of sobriety, gainful employment in the construction industry and weekends working for a charity organization in the Lower Mainland, show Thorsen has made significant strides towards rehabilitation. Putting him in jail would put that in jeopardy, said his lawyer.
Among the factors that played into the sentence were the fact that Thorsen had drank over 20 ounces of liquour on the night of the incident, leaving him with no memory of events, his guilty plea, the fact that Thorsen had to go home and load the weapon before travelling to his victim’s residence and an element of a vigilante motive based on claims about the victim that Thorsen felt were not addressed by the RCMP.
Prior to his arrest, Thorsen admitted to drinking 26 to 40 ounces of hard liquour on a daily basis.
After being released in 2021, he went to live in a recovery house, transferring from one to another after the first did not do enough to crack down on his substance use. At the time of his sentencing, he was still living at a recovery centre.
In that time, he also had not once brushed up against his bail conditions.
That work on rehabilitating himself did sway the judge towards a less strict sentence than what Crown counsel was seeking, which the justice admitted would have been appropriate.
The justice determined a two-year jail sentence, less time served, to be appropriate after weighing all of the factors and the limited case law for Thorsen’s situation.
After time served is taken off, Thorsen will spend another 412 days in jail, followed by 18 months on probation.
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