The family of an Osoyoos Indian Band man accused of a violent home invasion and a struggle with police took aim at what they feel was a lacking police investigation and a failure to communicate.
Brian Douglas Louie was not released on bail after alibis fell through in Penticton’s courthouse Friday morning, his third appearance before Judge Gregory Koturbash on the matter, with his first appearance on Monday.
While he was initially appearing on a matter of alleged assaults on police during a mental health call, Louie said he was arrested on his way into the court on an alleged home invasion.
It isn’t clear whether the first matter was an issue of mental health or of drugs, though Louie suggested he could attend residential drug treatment.
A relative of Louie spoke in court Friday afternoon about issues they have with Louie’s case, saying when police were called on that first matter, the family only wanted help getting him to a hospital.
He was turned down at the South Okanagan General Hospital — which has a history of capacity issues and doctor shortages, including emergency department closures — so Louie’s relative said she asked police if they could take him to Penticton Regional Hospital.
“They said ‘no, if we’re going to take him, we’re going to take him to the cells,’” she said.
After expressing concerns about Louie not getting the help he needed, his relative said she was told PRH had a team available and waiting for Louie.
“Nobody let us know that Penticton hospital mental health was waiting, so the cops said ‘we have no choice. We have to charge him for assaulting a peace officer, or else we’ll have to let him go,’ and he was in a bad state at the time.”
And when he was arrested for alleged involvement in the home invasion nearly two weeks ago, his relative said the family never heard about the allegations, and no questions were asked among his family about the allegations.
“Why didn’t they call us and say these accusations have been made about him. Nobody came asking or looking or asking for either one of them, and then just picked him up at the court,” she said.
“All these processes that should have been done in place wasn’t done, so now he’s left sitting in here trying to defend himself.”
Louie allegedly burst into a house, assaulted a man on the bed and then chased a woman into the kitchen, hitting her in the head with a chair. In his first appearance on March 5, Louie said he had alibis to back up that he wasn’t involved, but come Friday those alibis had not materialized in court.
His relative said one of the alibis was unable to speak to police in time due to a death in the family and another did not make a statement due to a recent traumatic experience.
“So I don’t think he should be falsely accused for something he didn’t do and being held in here like this for something that he didn’t do,” she said. “He’s paid for the things that he’s done, and these newspapers, these headlines are making his time in there harder.”
Because the alleged home invasion happened while Louie was on bail from the struggle with police, he is in a “reverse-onus” situation, meaning it is incumbent on the defence to argue why he should be released rather than the Crown to argue the latter.
Koturbash expressed some regret for the bail hearing turning into a mini-trial, but despite Louie’s relative speaking up, Koturbash said the Crown’s case was “not exceptionally strong but not unusually weak, either.”
He also had to take into account Louie’s criminal past, including a violent sexual assault from 2012, his most recent offence, for which he got a lengthy prison sentence.
Gladue principles also mandate judges take Indigenous heritage and overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system when making decisions regarding people with First Nations heritage.
Still, Koturbash said he could not release Louie from custody at this point, believing there was “substantial” risk for reoffending.