Man banished from Princeton in rare court ruling

In his ruling, the judge made note of more than a dozen instances of threatening behaviour

A man has been banished from Princeton in a rare ruling in Penticton’s courthouse, published recently online at the Canadian Legal Information Institute. File photo

A man has been banished from coming within 50 kilometres of the Town of Princeton in a rare decision over criminal harassment.

The ruling, recently posted on the Canadian Legal Information Institute, banishes 46-year-old Kevin Lynch from Princeton for criminal harassment of his ex-girlfriend Jeri McMullin since August 2011. The two began dating in 2009, but parted ways on Aug. 2, 2011, shortly before Lynch’s harassment began.

In fact, just two days later McMullin and her mother complained to police that Lynch was standing outside their residence at 3:30 a.m., and that a note reading “F—- off and die” was found on their vehicle.

He reportedly returned just four days after that and broke two of their windows, leading to his arrest on mischief charges.

Following his release, the two had a brief reconciliation, but after they split the second time, Lynch appeared to be engaged in a campaign of terror against McMullin and, later on, her boyfriend John Tomkins. The ruling makes note of around a dozen more instances of harassment between October 2011 and October 2015.

That included phone calls and text messages, in which Lynch makes threats against Tomkins’ life, alleged tire slashing, stalking and a break-and-enter. In that last incident, Lynch reportedly forced his way into the house the two were living in in January 2014 and threatening McMullin’s own life.

Charges in that incident were stayed because neither McMullin nor Tomkins were willing to testify for fear of retribution, according to the ruling. Police later found that Lynch had made threats against the pair to dissuade against testifying against him.

Things escalated in July 2015, when Tomkins was assaulted by Lynch, left bleeding from his mouth and lips. Fearing the situation could devolve further, neither Tomkins nor McMullin wanted police to lay charges, and no charges were laid.

Later, while in custody on unrelated charges, Lynch began writing McMullin’s mother, with whom the two were living at the time, making threats against Tomkins, which were “worse than before.”

Lynch was ultimately arrested, charged with the global charge of criminal harassment. He was released on bail, with a condition of not going within 50 kilometres of Princeton, except when escorted by police to retrieve his things.

On two separate occasions, Lynch was found to be heading to Princeton without police escort, and in a curfew check at the residence Lynch claimed to live in to his bail supervisor, police were greeted by a man who said he didn’t know Lynch and that Lynch was not living at that residence.

A psychiatric assessment found that Lynch had a “lifelong pattern of disregard for norms,” and that “in an inconsistent way” he claimed he wouldn’t leave Princeton because he needed to care for his mother in the town and because he had no place to go.

The report indicated that Lynch would disregard court orders and that he was “unrepentant, blaming his victims for their inconsistent messages, Jeri for not contacting him and the system for unfairly persecuting him.”

“Mr. Lynch believes that the RCMP is pursuing an agenda to get him to leave Princeton; he presumes it is because he is disrespectful to them,” the report says.

Koturbash’s ruling made note of a long history of harassment and other criminal activities, with 15 past convictions; high recidivism, returning to crime shortly after his releases; and escalating behaviour.

“A banishment condition is rare,” Koturbash further wrote. “In most cases, it is fundamentally wrong to foist one community’s problem onto another.”

He wrote that it should not be for punishment but deterrence, to attempt to mitigate the issue from continuing.

“A restriction that Mr. Lynch not be found within a 50-kilometre radius is necessary in this case in order to protect the McMullins and Mr. Tomkins,” he wrote. “It would be wrong, having regard to Mr. Lynch’s history, not to utilize every tool available to the court to try and prevent a continuation of the harassment.”

On top of the banishment, Lynch was handed a 93-day sentence on top of time served, which totalled a 900-day sentence. He was also handed two 180-day sentences for failing to report to probation officers.

When he is released, Koturbash has given the maximum probation order, at three years, and a lifelong firearms ban, though Lynch was already on a lifelong ban.

“I hope that the sentence I impose will indeed send a clear message to you that the orders are not recommendations on how you should be conducting yourself in the community,” wrote Koturbash. “If you choose not to comply with them in the brazen way that you have chosen not to comply with previous orders, you will face very serious consequences.”

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