Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Alleged pool peeper found fit to stand trial

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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 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" that 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 seek free legal advice through the University of Manitoba student law centre.

"He doesn't feel these charges are serious," said Lismer, who 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 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 number. The officer took statements at the pool but the women didn't want to proceed with formal charges.

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

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

Handyman sentenced for sexually assaulting teen girl

A Manitoba handyman has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting a teen girl while doing work at a friend's home.

David Robert Locke, 59, was convicted of several sex-related charges following a trial last year. He returned to court Tuesday for sentencing.

Locke denied any wrongdoing, claiming the 15-year-old victim made up a bogus story after he rejected her advances. But Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice Shane Perlmutter disagreed in finding him guilty, saying the teen was credible and reliable.

Locke's crimes took place on three separate days in October 2010, when he and the teen victim were alone together at her family's home.

The girl told court the first attack occurred when she was home for lunch from school. She said Locke began talking about sex and asked "if she would be comfortable learning something." She said she agreed and that led to about five minutes of sexual activity.

Days later, she was again home for lunch and alone with Locke and said he requested help repairing a basement light fixture. He fondled her and got her to agree to have intercourse on her mother's bed. It was followed by a request from him to not tell anyone.

The third incident happened about two weeks later when Locke turned up unannounced in the victim's mother's room. He talked with her and asked for hugs. Despite her resistance, he groped her. "I don't want to do this right now," she said she told him. He eventually coerced her onto the bed.

Following intercourse, the girl told court she felt Locke "shaking and moaning and realized he was crying."

"I'm so sorry. This can never happen again. Promise me this won't happen," she testified Locke said before getting dressed and leaving.

The girl told her mother what happened and the police were notified.

Drunk driver in fatal accident requesting reduced sentence

MANITOBA'S highest court is debating whether to reduce the sentence given to a drunk driver who killed a woman and seriously injured two others.

Dakota Smoke, 19, was sentenced last year to six-and-a-half years behind bars after pleading guilty to several charges, including leaving the scene of an accident and impaired driving causing death.

He appeared Tuesday before the Manitoba Court of Appeal, claiming his punishment was harsh and excessive and the judge didn't properly consider all mitigating factors including his troubled aboriginal upbringing.

No date for a decision was announced.

Kim Delaurier, 53, was killed in the February 2013 crash at Isabel Street and Notre Dame Avenue. Smoke had been drinking heavily that night and was driving a Chevrolet Impala sedan with a number of passengers. Witnesses described seeing him blow through red lights just before the crash at speeds estimated in excess of 100 km/h.

A passenger in Smoke's vehicle described him as "plastered." Others were screaming at him to slow down.

"A fatal collision was almost a certainty," provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack said at his sentencing hearing.

Smoke T-boned a Honda CRV after running a red light at Notre Dame. The CRV hit and killed Delaurier as she waited on the sidewalk for a bus.

Police caught up to Smoke two days later. While being recorded at the police station, he called a relative and told him to tell people involved to keep their "mouths shut." At the time of the crash, Smoke had only a novice driver's licence, so having any alcohol in his system was prohibited.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 3, 2014 B2

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