The Merritt RCMP has released its weekly update, this time looking to highlight a lack of regard for the system by offenders, as well as a lack of action by the courts on multiple failure to appear and impaired driving incidents.
The first of the incidents began on June 5, 2021 when Merritt Front Line Officers responded to the 200 block of Coldwater Road, to reports of a man sitting unconscious in the driver’s seat of a running vehicle. Officers apprehended and arrested the man, who was taken to hospital due to his high
level of intoxication. After blood samples were seized on site, a forensic laboratory determined the man, a Kelowna resident with a long criminal history, had high levels of fentanyl and methamphetamines in his system.
One year after the investigation was forwarded to Crown Counsel by the Merritt RCMP, prosecutors determined the public interest did not warrant any further prosecution, as the courts would impose a minimum sentence due to the accused not having a history of impaired driving.
Another ‘no-charge’ incident causing frustration for RCMP is the lack of Crown Counsel response to missed court-dates, and the loose sentencing for repeat offenders. After responding to the 500 block of Coldwater Road for a report of an assault with a garbage can last October 15, suspect and Merritt local Mark Archachan was located days later, and arrested and charged for assault with a weapon. Archachan then missed four court appearances between his arrest and June 1, 2022, causing officers to have to locate and arrest him on four additional occasions.
“Having to chase offenders who fail to attend Court puts a huge strain on police resources and shows the lack of respect offenders have for our justice system,” says Sgt. Josh Roda of the Merritt RCMP.
“Mr. Archachan was not charged for any of the occasions he failed to attend Court.”
On June 1, Archachan was arrested and taken before the courts on his fourth warrant for failing to appear, where he pleaded guilty to assault. Despite the multiple no-shows, Archachan received only a suspended sentence and probation for 12 months.
A similar story played out for Merritt local Jaime Koivisto, who pleaded guilty to a handful of offenses that occurred in Merritt in 2021. Koivisto received 45 days credited, 30 days in jail, and 1 year of probation for his charges of theft under $5000, using a stolen credit card, and obstructing a police officer.
Between August 17, 2021 and March 29, 2022, Koivisto failed to attend court on five separate occasions, once again necessitating officers locate and arrest him five times after his initial arrest. He was not charged for any of these arrests, with no additional charges stemming from his lack of appearance to court.