Man who keeps questionable company denied bail

A man who continually gets arrested for driving while prohibited was denied bail Wednesday in Penticton Provincial Court.

A man who continually gets arrested for driving while prohibited was denied bail Wednesday in Penticton Provincial Court.

Devon Shaun Forsyth, 26, is charged with multiple counts of driving while prohibited, breach of a court undertaking, personation with intent to avoid arrest and resisting or obstructing a peace officer.

During the bail hearing, Crown counsel Nashina Devji alleged that on Jan. 24 a police officer in Summerland was surveying a vehicle recognized the passenger who was suspected to be involved in drug trafficking. The vehicle parked at a convenience store in Summerland and the officer approached and recognized the driver, Forsyth, from previous encounters.

Forsyth had an endorsed warrant out of Kelowna for prohibited driving, and was still under a driving prohibition. Forsyth was arrested for driving while prohibited, released and given a court summons for April 1.

On Sept. 29 an officer noticed a vehicle parked on the wrong side of the road in Penticton, facing oncoming traffic. A recent report of a stolen dirt bike had been associated with the vehicle and the officer approached the vehicle and identified Forsyth, who had an outstanding warrant at the time and was arrested for driving while prohibited.

Crown alleged that upon arrest, the vehicle Forsyth was driving was searched and drug paraphernalia was found along with bear spray and a 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip, the safety off and two shotgun shells loaded but not in the chamber.

Forsyth’s female passenger at the time said the bear spray was hers, Crown said.

“Mr. Forsyth seems to be keeping very questionable company,” said Devji.

Crown said Forsyth failed to attend court on Aug. 12, a warrant was issued and Forsyth was released again and on Oct. 28 Forsyth failed to attend court.

“Mr. Forsyth has been reckless with his attendance in these matters,” Devji said, noting Forsyth has prior convictions “which shows his lack of respect for the conditions that have been placed on him.”

“There are notes on this file that Mr. Forsyth has been told on four separate occasions that this matter has to be dealt with and Mr. Forsyth has not been diligent, failing to attend court,” Devji said.

While on bail for those matters, and on a condition not to occupy the driver’s seat of any vehicle, Crown alleged Forsyth used another man’s identity after being pulled over by police on Dec. 8. Crown alleged Forsyth was issued tickets for not having his ID and for the vehicle’s tinted windows, under another man’s name.

On Dec. 15 police received information from an unnamed individual resulting in further investigation, and RCMP used Facebook photos to decipher Forsyth’s actual identity through a distinguishing tattoo on his hand.

The man Forsyth allegedly posed as told ICBC that he has violation tickets for places he hadn’t been and had been told that he was driving while on restrictions, of which he had none, according to Crown counsel.

“Mr Forsyth has for some time been taking advantage of (the man’s) identity, causing him significant problems with his motor vehicle history,” Devji said.

Maxwell told the court that Forsyth was long-time friends with the man who’s identity he allegedly used.

“When you don’t have ID, (police) always ask for the mother’s maiden name. He tells me he’s been real good friends with this (man),” Maxwell said. “That’s where he got the mother’s maiden name.”

“Is it bright? No. Is it stupid? Yup. Is it deceptive with the police? You bet it is,” said Maxwell.

After that incident, Crown alleged on Dec. 28 Forsyth, still prohibited from driving, was pulled over and arrested for breaching conditions and drugs were found in the vehicle.

Maxwell noted that Forsyth’s family, who were in attendance with his girlfriend in court Wednesday, had raised $500 for his bail. Maxwell argued for Forsyth’s release on “strict conditions.”

“I tell you what, $500 doesn’t convince me you’re going to toe the line,” said Judge Gail Sinclair prior to denying Forsyth bail.

Forsyth spoke to the court and said that he had made arrangements to start paying the ICBC fines starting Jan. 1, 2016.

“I’ve been a bad kid for a long time, but the last four or five years I’ve been a lot better. My biggest crime here is driving a vehicle. That’s about it. I’m sorry,” Forsyth said.


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