A Penticton man banned from BC Transit services in the city and several local buildings has been granted bail.
Dennis Earl Baker was at the Penticton Law Courts on Monday, seeking release from custody, after failing to appear in court on Sept. 25.
Baker had been out of custody since July 1, when he allegedly stole $137.79 worth of razor blades from Walmart in Penticton.
He is also accused of stealing two, 750-millilitre bottles of vodka from the BC Liquor Store in Penticton on two separate days in June and breaching a ban from the Penticton Safeway in May, which was the allegation he was supposed to be appearing in court for on Sept. 25. Additionally, according to Crown counsel Andrew Vandersluys, he was arrested several times in April.
The series of allegations began April 10, when a BC Transit dispatcher called RCMP to report Baker was at the bus stop at 1301 Main St., “banging on the bus, hitting it, and swearing and yelling at the bus driver.”
The next day, on April 11, he allegedly banged on the door of the Penticton and Area Access Centre, and threatened staff.
On April 16, Vandersluys said Baker went to BC Housing to make a complaint about “hate crimes” and after the receptionist showed him how to do it, he said, “Somebody needs to come in here and take care of you guys like that guy did yesterday.”
Vandersluys said Baker was referring to the four shooting deaths allegedly committed by John Brittain in Penticton the day prior.
The next day, on April 17, Baker is accused of threatening to defecate on the floor of a commercial building in Penticton, where he is also accused of threatening to stab a man with a toothbrush.
Considering Baker’s extensive criminal record and that he has missed court dates before, the Crown was seeking revocation of any release process on Sept. 30 and to retain him.
Judge Meg Shaw said “it’s concerning that Mr. Baker did not show up on Sept. 25,” but ultimately granted him bail with conditions.
“I want you to know Mr. Baker, just with a little puff of air, I would be keeping you in jail,” she said. “You miss any more court dates sir, you commit any more alleged offences … guess what’s going to happen.”
Shaw said Baker is restricted from Walmart, the BC Liquor Store, Safeway, BC Transit services and BC Housing. Baker is homeless, but Shaw said he can communicate with BC Housing by phone.
Regarding restricting Baker from 304 Martin St., the building that houses a number of services, including the Penticton and District Access Centre, Shaw said, “I have a real problem with that and I understand the concerns.”
“I’m going to say that if Mr. Baker has further allegations coming forward … you will be restricted,” she said, addressing Baker directly. “You’re going to have to behave yourself.”
Shaw considered adding alcohol and drug restrictions as bail conditions, but defence attorney Ms. Lowe said that would be setting Baker up for failure.
Baker’s next scheduled court date is Oct. 9.
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