Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Alleged pool peeper deemed mentally fit

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A Winnipeg man accused of peeping at a public pool has been found fit to stand trial following a mental health evaluation.

Remigiusz Gronski, 31, is insisting on acting as his own lawyer, drawing concerns from justice officials that he may not fully understand the serious voyeurism charge he faces or the potentially serious legal ramifications.

But a court-ordered fitness assessment has given Gronski a "clean bill of health" which will allow the matter to proceed, court heard Tuesday.

Provincial court Judge Ted Lismer once again pleaded with the accused to consider hiring a lawyer, or seeking free legal advice through the University of Manitoba student law centre.

"He doesn’t feel these charges are serious," said Lismer, who then told Gronski how he recently sent a man to jail for one year for a similar offence.

"This is not a light matter," the judge added.

Gronski wasn’t deterred and has now set a trial date of Feb. 20. He was arrested in December 2013 following an incident at the Elmwood Kildonans pool. Full details of the alleged offence have not yet been heard in court. The allegations have not been proven and he is presumed innocent.

Gronski was in court earlier this year where he was found guilty of trespassing at the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex. He had been ejected from the facility and barred in September 2012 after two women — one of them a lifeguard — complained of being groped by him, court heard.

He was also seen swimming in the shallow end underneath the legs of children. When confronted by a male lifeguard, Gronski "seemed to take offence," got out of the pool and took up a "fighting stance," court heard.

The lifeguard ordered him out and called Winnipeg police. Gronski left the grounds before an officer arrived, but the lifeguard noted his licence plate. The officer took statements at the pool, but the women didn’t want to proceed with formal charges.

However, police warned Gronski that he could be charged and prosecuted if he went back there. When he did a few weeks later — on Oct. 12, 2012 — there were similar complaints that Gronski was swimming near kids and "bugging women."

He was ticketed for trespassing under the Petty Trespasses Act. He was given a $250 fine following the guilty finding.

— with files from James Turner



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