A Forest Grove man who claims he lost his business due to strict bail conditions will now be allowed to travel to 100 Mile House to seek work.
British Columbia District Court Judge Michelle Stanford agreed on Monday to change two of the eight conditions imposed on Cameron McSorley, 38, after his June 4 arrest. McSorley was charged with uttering threats of death or bodily harm against the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) and possession of a firearm without a license or registration.
With the consent of Crown counsel, Stanford agreed to remove a condition that prohibited McSorley from traveling within 10 kilometers of 100 Mile House, except between noon and 4 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. She also ruled that he was allowed to possess a knife on his property or for work if needed.
“I appreciate the hardship these conditions have caused you,” she said.
However, Stanford refused to change the other terms, which include a curfew at his Forest Grove home from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily and a ban on owning firearms, crossbows or other restricted weapons designed to be used or intended to cause death or injury. . She ruled she couldn’t change those terms without seeing the previous judge’s transcripts explaining why he made them.
McSorley is also prohibited from traveling within 25 yards of the local MCFD office, unless in the immediate presence of an attorney.
He told the court that the decision “was a step” and that he will push for the other conditions to be lifted. “The judge did what she could and that’s a step more than anything,” he said, adding that he wanted to continue self-employed.
Stanford’s decision follows testimony from McSorley, who argued that his writing and design business was destroyed after his arrest last year. He told the court that he went to the RCMP detachment at the request of the sergeant. Brad McKinnon when he was stopped by three or four police cars near his home. He alleges that the police made him lie on the ground, handcuffed him and put a gun to his head.
“Apparently I had made a threat that day at the child development office in Kelowna,” McSorley told the court, noting that he had been embroiled in a custody battle for his son since 2017.” I didn’t make any threats. I was upset that they wouldn’t give me a resolution meeting.
McSorley said the past eight months have been difficult because he had a “tight window” to get to doctor’s appointments, get groceries or fill prescriptions. He said the curfew left him feeling isolated and “trapped”.
“I can’t operate right now and with the damage done to my business, I can’t operate this business anymore,” he said.
McSorley’s defense attorney, George Wool, urged the judge to throw out all bail conditions, saying they were “too onerous and frankly unnecessary”.
“They shouldn’t have been issued in the first place,” he said.
Wool provided charter notice to the courts, claiming her client’s rights were violated in a contentious family separation lawsuit in court in 2019 when McSorley filed a private and confidential complaint with the Chief Justice in subject of perceived bias by the provincial court judge.
He said the trial damaged McSorley’s mental health, while the ensuing police publicity and the legal terms of his arrest are not only “embarrassing but humiliating”, especially in a small town.
“He was tried as a criminal before he had a chance to be brought to justice,” he said.
Crown attorney Paola Konge urged the judge to consider previous transcripts before lifting the conditions, noting that this could only happen in three cases: when new evidence is admitted that shows a material change in the case, when there is an error in the law or when the decision is inappropriate. Without seeing the previous judge’s transcripts, it was unclear if he had made a mistake or if the ruling was improper, she said.
She told the court that police had fully disclosed the situation surrounding the arrest, although she claims not to have pointed a gun at McSorley’s head.
“In Crown’s view, this does not represent any material change in the circumstances,” Konge said, but added that she had emailed the detachment for further disclosure. “I agree with Mr Wool, this is an important disclosure and we need it.”
Although Konge agreed to change both conditions, she urged the judge not to lift the gun ban, noting that McSorley did not have a possession and acquisition license. He had said earlier that he needed a gun because of the bears and other wildlife in his rural neighborhood.
“Even if there was a bear problem on Chuckwagon Drive, it wouldn’t be appropriate for that condition to be changed,” Konge said.
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