A Kelowna justice has reserved his sentencing decision in the case of a Hells Angel who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in the beating of a local father.
“As much as I would like to give a decision today, I don’t know that I can adequately address the issues,” said Justice Allan Betton Wednesday afternoon during the sentencing hearing for Joseph Bruce Skreptak.
The hearing Wednesday, which centred around Skreptak’s treatment in prison and whether that warrants enhanced credit, as well as what weight his membership in the Hells Angels should be given, came more than two months after lawyers first presented sentencing positions to the justice.
At the February hearing, Crown asked for a jail sentence of three years for the 47-year-old, who punched a father in the face while trying to extract a confession from the man’s son on Nov. 1, 2010. The boy knew about Skreptak’s membership in the Hells Angels, the court heard.
The confrontation centred around $10,000 in jewelry that had gone missing from Skreptak’s home and ended with the father suffering fractures to the bones around his eye.
Defence argued for a “high provincial sentence.” Provincial jail time maxes out at two years less a day.
Defence also sought credit for the 21 months Skreptak had spent on house arrest and asked for enhanced credit at a ratio of 1.5 to 1 for the 111 days Skreptak spent in jail. The court heard about a number of complaints Skreptak made about his conditions in jail to support the application for enhanced credit.
Crown shot back yesterday with an affidavit from prison and RCMP officials countering a number of the complaints, leading to frustration from the justice about what to consider fact.
“You’re throwing all this on my lap and telling me to figure it out,” Betton said at one point. Betton also wrestled with Skreptak’s Hells Angels membership during arguments Wednesday.
It is “naive,” he said, to think that Skreptak’s membership is “inconsequential” when considering his character as part of determining sentence.
“There is a public perception of what that means and it’s not ‘Hey, we love motorcycles,’” said Betton. Skreptak’s case has been put over to June 24 to set a date for sentencing, but it is expected that sentencing may happen before that day.
By Cheryl Wierda, Capital News contributor