Penticton Law Courts. (File)

Penticton Law Courts. (File)

Princeton man with 97 prior convictions serves 62 more days in jail

Crown asks for less time for Blake Dunstall convicted of domestic assault, fleeing police

A Princeton man with 97 prior convictions who was described as a career criminal by the judge will spend 62 more days in prison for multiple crimes he committed.

The decision was read out via video in Penticton Provincial Court on Monday, with the accused Blake Dunstall appearing from Okanagan Correctional Centre.

Dunstall will remain in custody for the 62 days of his sentence, the amount remaining after time served.

Judge Shannon Keyes sentenced Dunstall to 180 days for the assault charge he was facing, as well as 18 months probation to follow. Dunstall had plead guilty to the assault on the day the trial had been scheduled to begin in 2021, an assault in which he was described as punching his then-girlfriend after ranting at her while going through her phone.

The assault was said to have occurred on July 4, 2020.

“It appears to me that the abuse of the women in his life is a well-entrenched behaviour,” Keyes said as she read her decision. “The sexual slurs he hurled at [the victim] which preceded his assault on her, indicate to me he has deeply misogynistic views towards women.”

The second series of charges Dunstall was sentenced for, including flight from police and dangerous operation, stemmed from the incident which landed him in custody, where he was arrested after driving over an RCMP officer’s foot and then fleeing from police at speeds of up to 100 km/h in a dangerous chase through Penticton.

The chase, which occurred July 15, included running a red light and ended after RCMP deployed a spike belt, with a police dog team called in to track down and take Dunstall into custody.

“Counsel for Mr. Dunstall made the surprising suggestion to me that Mr. Dunstall did not know [the] constable’s feet were in the path of the wheels when he pulled out and sped away,” said Keyes. “It seems to me that Mr. Dunstall should have expected that [the] constable’s feet would be attached to [the] constable in the usual fashion, so that wherever [the] constable was, his feet would be nearby.”

Defence had also argued that the incident was at the behest of a criminal organization from the Lower Mainland that Dunstall had been attempting to leave, who had provided the vehicle as well as a second individual who was also in the vehicle during the incident.

In describing the background to her decision, Keyes noted that Dunstall had 97 prior adult convictions, of which she cited his seven prior assault convictions including six against domestic partners, five convictions for dangerous driving, three for flight from police, six for driving while prohibited and two for impaired driving. Several convictions were committed in Vancouver, and others in Saskatchewan.

Crown counsel had asked for the sentences that Keyes handed down in her decision, however she had noted she would have otherwise given Dunstall a larger sentence. Defence had sought time served or a conditional sentence that could be served in the community. She cited the similar charges in the Vancouver charges, for which he was sentenced to 12 months after time served.

“The sentence sought by the Crown today of 730 days is therefore a considerable step down from Mr. Dunstall’s most recent prior offences,” said Keyes. “Having considered the aggravating factors as well as the mitigating factor of the guilty pleas, I am of the view that a global sentence of three years or 1,095 days for this set of offences would be appropriate, however given the position taken by the Crown I will impose a global sentence of 730 days less time served.”

In addition to a lifetime firearm ban, Keyes instituted the maximum of a 10-year driving ban, separate from the lifetime driving ban Dunstall already had from his conviction in Saskatchewan.

While incarcerated, Keyes noted that Dunstall had completed many programs, as well as became a peer mentor. On his release, Dunstall said that he hopes to open a recovery house in Princeton. The judge noted that there were signs to be optimistic, however she also ended her decision with a warning.

“Mr. Dunstall, I hope in fact you have turned over a new leaf,” said Keyes. “With the behaviour you’ve chosen up to now, you can expect to spend most of your life in jail.”

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