Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pool trespasser guilty for return

Had swum near kids, 'bugged' women

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A man punted from a city public swimming pool over his treatment of women and kids has been convicted of trespassing after he showed up there again.

Remigiusz Gronski, 31, knew or ought to have known he was barred from the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex when a police officer came to his home to tell him he was no longer welcome there, Judge Cynthia Devine ruled Tuesday.

The conviction comes as Gronski faces a separate voyeurism trial later this month for alleged events taking place at the Elmwood Kildonans public pool on Dec. 12, 2013.

He fought the trespassing claims, arguing he wasn't aware of being barred from the Cindy Klassen facility for more than a single day.

Gronski was ejected from the property on Sept. 29, 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," said Devine.

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, Devine said in a review of the evidence.

The same policeman personally visited Gronski at home soon after and informed him 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," said Devine.

When a different officer arrived at the behest of pool staff, he read his colleague's earlier report and saw Gronski had been "warned and barred."

He was ticketed for trespassing under the Petty Trespasses Act.

Devine also noted Gronski had been asked to leave the pool a week prior to events leading up to him being blacklisted.

He'd snuck in and was seen swimming during a time reserved for youth and was asked to leave, said Devine.

Gronski represented himself in court and testified on his own behalf.

He denied wrongdoing, saying he didn't know he was barred and hadn't been given any paperwork showing this. He grew agitated under cross-examination and claimed to be annoyed by Crown attorney Adam Bergen's questioning.

"I'm done," Gronski exclaimed at one point, standing up in the witness box as if to leave the courtroom. He remained.

In the end, his denials and testimony overall didn't hold water, Devine found.

"Police were called because he was posing a nuisance or danger to women and children," she said.

"He was told not to attend again. He was told a report would be written. He indicated he understood. He told police he would not go back. He went back... he was trespassing," said Devine.

No jail time is available for the trespassing offence, which carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

Devine handed down a $250 penalty, rejecting Bergen's request for double that amount given the "unusual and serious" circumstances of the case.

"How am I supposed to get the money?" Gronski exclaimed.

"It doesn't seem to matter what I say... you're taking (the Crown's) story over mine, believing the cops and all that stuff," he said.

Devine noted Gronski appeared to be an "intransigent trespasser" who wasn't deterred by being barred and ticketed.

The voyeurism trial is set for July 24.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 16, 2014 B3

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