The City of Penticton and streetperson Paul Braun have come to a consent guilty plea on all eight counts of panhandling this morning in provincial court.
The plea was entered at the start of what was scheduled to be a three day trial. It is estimated that the City of Penticton spent $26,000 on legal costs to-date.
As part of the deal, Braun will have to pay $11 per count (a total of $88) as well as $57 to the city for court costs. He also faces a number of conditions including not being in the 200-block of Main Street for one year and he must comply with the City of Penticton Good Neighbour bylaw which includes no panhandling within 10 metres of an entrance to a bank or trust company, an ATM, a bus stop or shelter; the entrance to a liquor store, movie theatre, place of worship or sidewalk cafe; a payphone, a public washroom or, in this case, an enclosed or covered pedestrian walkway. The plea deal states that if Braun does not comply he will be arrested by RCMP.
Braun also must complete 60 hours of community service, picking up garbage for two hours during the weekdays. A deadline to have that service completed was set at Dec. 15.
The city’s fight with Braun started in 2017 after bylaw issued eight counts of contraventions of Bylaw 2012-5030 which says “No person shall panhandle in a manner to cause an obstruction.” Braun regularly occupied the breezeway between Main Street and the alleyway east of the street in the 200 block.
Braun’s lawyer, Paul Varga, did not previously know Braun but had witnessed him receive these violations from bylaw.
“I happened to be walking by just about the same time he’s getting it, and so he looked, well, distraught,” Varga previously told the Penticton Western News. “(He) asked for my help and I gave it.”
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