A South Okanagan man with a history of petty criminal offences will spend just over three months in jail and a judge believes this will be a benefit to the community.
Jacob Edward Thomson appeared in Penticton court on Dec. 15, to face charges of being in possession of a stolen vehicle, and smaller thefts from businesses in Penticton and Osoyoos, to which he pleaded guilty.
One of the incidents involved Thomson yelling and throwing his coffee at the staff of Penticton’s 7-11. Another incident found him behind the wheel of a stolen car, however, there wasn’t evidence to show he had been the one to steal it in the first place.
As the judge noted, Thomson’s previous record included a suspended sentence in 2010, and from 2019 it was all downhill with many further convictions, including one for violence.
With a history of mental health issues, including a diagnosis of schizophrenia when he was still in his teens, the judge noted in her decision that it has complicated attempts to use treatment programs and other resources. She also noted that while he had a loving family in the area, his mental illness made continued living with them impossible.
“Counsel describes him as a derelict ship. He’s without guidance, he’s a danger to himself and to others, his family can’t manage, he can’t manage and the public can’t manage,” said the judge. “And this has a lot to do with the lack of societal resources for mentally ill people.”
The defence had requested 80 days of jail time for being in possession of the stolen car, then 40 days for one theft and 30 days each for the remaining thefts he pleaded guilty to.
“The problem from my point of view is that although further jail doesn’t necessarily help Mr. Thomson, it may very well help the community,” said the judge. “This community needs a rest from Mr. Thomson.”
In total, the judge agreed with the defence’s request and sentenced Thomson to 180 days across the various charges, with 83 days taken off for time already spent in custody.
In addition, Thomson will be under a probation order after his release that prohibits him from going to the three businesses where his charges took place.
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