A Penticton man will see some jail time after getting caught driving away from the courthouse after receiving a driving prohibition that same day.
Troy Howarth had just received a 60-day sentence on July 25, 2022 for pleading guilty to driving without a license in 2021 when he made the decision to drive home from Penticton’s courthouse. He claimed in court that the person who had driven him and his car to the courthouse had left, and that he wanted to avoid having his vehicle towed.
On the way home from court, Howarth was stopped by police, who busted him for once again driving without a license and promptly issued him an appearance notice, unaware of his most recent sentence.
His latest guilty plea has resulted in Howarth receiving a 90-day intermittent sentence at the Okanagan Correctional Centre.
The prosecution was seeking a straight 120-day jail sentence, noting the aggravating timing of the case.
“He had literally just been sentenced for the same thing, told he could not drive, been given a driving prohibition and went out the courthouse door and promptly drove away to be stopped by police,” said Crown.
Speaking in his own defence, Howarth admitted his guilt and asked if he could serve it intermittently in order to stay employed and thus keep the residence where he and his partner live.
Crown pointed to previous intermittent sentences that Howarth had received, which were followed by further driving offences.
Back in 2009, Howarth received an indefinite suspension of his license after being found guilty of driving while intoxicated, driving while prohibited and fleeing from police.
That was one of eight prior convictions for driving while prohibited, along with at least 10 no-driver license tickets, according to Crown.
In the end, Howarth’s plea was heard by the judge.
“This was not a situation in which the public was endangered, except of course that people who are prohibited from driving have no insurance if anything happens,” said the judge. “It seems to me a straight 90-day sentence, or 120 days, would have collateral consequences that would be more harsh than is necessary in the circumstances.”
Howarth’s sentence will begin at Okanagan Correctional Centre on Friday.
In addition to his ongoing indefinite suspension, Howarth received a further two-year driving prohibition under the Motor Vehicle Act.