Sentencing for a Penticton man who exposed himself to a child at Kiwanis Park Playground has been adjourned due to the judge’s concerns for public safety once he is released.
David Ernest Friesen, 66, was found guilty of exposing his genitals to a person under the age of 16, committing an indecent act in a public place and two counts of breach of probation—both related to a previous conviction of an indecent exposure at the library parking lot where he went against a court order after being released and was caught taking photos of children at a beach on Okanagan Lake.
It was after Friesen took his opportunity to address the court on Thursday that Judge Gregory Koturbash appeared to start struggling with the plan following Friesen’s release.
It was anticipated that Friesen, whose defence counsel said the man had been struggling to control a bipolar diagnosis, would be released from jail shortly after the sentencing because he has been behind bars since his arrest after the incident in October 2018.
“This is a case where we have been put in another difficult position because of his quite apparent need, and I have read the psychiatric report, that Mr. Friesen is in need of serious psychiatric assistance. I am not a person involved in psychiatric treatment, but it looks to me that he definitely belongs in a hospital,” he added.
During the trial, the court heard that Friesen had gone to the park where a teen and his younger sister had been playing. The teen testified that after other families left the area, Friesen called out to the boy to come over towards him.
The teen said Friesen had his pants pulled halfway down his thighs and he could see his “private parts.” The teen then grabbed his younger sister, whom he believed did not see anything and left.
In his decision, Koturbash said Friesen’s explanation of the incident “lacked the same hallmarks of credibility” that the teen boy’s testimony held. Koturbash also called the man’s actions “straight out a sexual predator’s playbook.” Friesen denied having any sinister intentions and denied having exposed himself to the boy.
Crown counsel Nashina Devji said she was seeking the maximum jail time that they can pursue on a summary offence and that requesting electronic surveillance would be difficult because Friesen had not established where he would be living after.
She did ask for three years of probation, with half served on a 24-hour curfew and the second half on a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
The matter has been adjourned for at least two weeks until transcripts from his previous conviction are made available to the judge to help in his decision on sentencing.
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