By Pioneer Staff

Banned driver gets jail time

A motorist with a history of driving while prohibited was led from Invermere Provincial Court in handcuffs on Monday, December 10th, to serve a 28-day jail sentence.

Gregory Pocha, 52, was spotted driving down Athalmer Road in Invermere on July 17th, 2012, by a pair of constables on patrol, one of whom believed he did not hold a valid drivers licence. The pair pulled Mr. Pochas vehicle over.

Mr. Pocha was confirmed as the driver and when he was advised that the vehicle plates were inactive he said he knew that and didnt have a drivers licence, said Lianna Swanson, Crown counsel.

Mr. Pocha was stopped a second time, by one of the same police officers, on October 4th in the Invermere area.

He said he couldnt understand why police were harassing him and wouldnt leave him alone, Ms. Swanson added.

Mr. Pocha, who was given an indefinite suspension from driving in July 2010, pleaded guilty to two counts of driving while prohibited.

Its apparent he has had a long series of driving prohibitions, said Buffy Blakley, duty counsel. He has been trying hard to get his licence back.

Given the impact of these two convictions its increasingly unlikely he will get his licence returned, said Judge William Sheard in his sentencing.

Id rather have more jail time than go without my licence, Mr. Pocha added.

Taking into account a previous conviction for the same offence, Judge William Sheard imposed the minimum of two 14-day jail sentences on Mr. Pocha, to be served consecutively, plus two $500 fines, to be paid within six months. He remains indefinitely prohibited from driving.


Disqualified driver caught by police

A disqualified driver caught by the RCMPs automatic licence plate recognition system has been sentenced to a one-year driving prohibition and $500 fine.

Loren S. McLeod, who appeared before judge William Sheard at Invermere Provincial Court on Monday, December 10th, was caught driving on a suspended licence on Highway 93/95 near Windermere on August 30th, 2012.

Mr. Mcleod, who had been banned from driving on July 30th of the same year, was stopped by a constable from the Columbia Valley detachment. The police officer was alerted to Mr. Mcleods vehicle when their onboard computer system indicated that it was owned by a prohibited driver, said Lianna Swanson, Crown counsel.

Mr. McLeod pleaded guilty to one count of driving while prohibited.

I note that you were stopped because of the RCMP automated licence plate reader, said Judge Sheard while sentencing. I hope the message will get out to the community that there is this powerful mechanism in the hands of police.

Mr. McLeod was ordered by the court to pay his fine and a $75 victim surcharge by the end of February 2013.

Speeder stopped without licence

A speeding motorist stopped near Windermere and found to be driving without licence has been banned from driving for a year and ordered to pay a $500 fine.

Michael G. J. McKenzie, who lives in the valley part-time and works in Fort McMurray, was pulled over by police on Highway 93/95 on October 12th, when he was spotted driving at 115 kilometres per hour in a 90 zone, said Lianna Swanson, Crown counsel.

He didnt have a drivers licence on him and, when queried, told police he was prohibited, she added.

Mr. McKenzie pleaded guilty to driving while prohibited, admitting that he shouldnt have been driving.

Judge William Sheard imposed the minimum penalty of a 12-month driving prohibition, $500 fine and $75 victim surcharge fee, to be paid within three months.


Drunken booze thief pleads guilty in court

A liquor thief who stole two bottles of alcohol in Cranbrook pleaded guilty to the offence at Invermere Provincial Court on December 10th.

Appearing before Judge William Sheard, Jaryd S. Endersby admitted to the theft, stating, I really wish I hadnt done it.

On December 5th, Mr. Endersby entered the Great Canadian Liquor Warehouse in Cranbrook, asking the store attendent where he could find a specific type of alcohol, the court heard. He then crouched behind some shelving, inserting two bottles of liquor into his jacket before attempting to pay for the third, said Lianna Swanson, Crown counsel.

When Mr. Endersbys card was declined, he left the bottle on the counter and exited the store without paying for the remaining two bottles, Judge William Sheard heard. But he had aroused the suspicion of the store manager, who noted the spaces on the shelf and checked the video surveillance footage, printing off a picture of the suspect for the RCMP.

When the officer arrived, he remembered passing a man wearing similar clothing while driving to the store, and returned to find Mr. Endersby walking drunkenly down the street hand in hand with his girlfriend, Ms. Swanson added.

Im concerned that if you dont deal with your alcoholism youll be back in court and in jail again, Judge Sheard said when sentencing.

As Mr. Endersby had already been held in police custody for five days, he was credited for time served and released. He was ordered to repay $33.40 to the liquor store.