Okanagan firefighter enters peace bond, accused of being unlawfully in neighbour’s house
An Oliver, B.C., firefighter accused of being unlawfully in the dwelling of his female neighbour’s house last May entered into a peace bond in Penticton provincial court on Wednesday.
The peace bond means the criminal charge facing Travis Bolenback, 35, was stayed.
A peace bond is usually issued when the prosecutor doesn’t believe the crown has a strong enough case to result in a conviction. The accused does not enter a guilty plea, therefore there is no finding of guilt or a conviction registered if the accused agrees to sign the peace bond.
The allegations stemmed from a May 14, 2017, incident. Bolenback’s case was scheduled to go to trial today, but a last-minute deal was reached between the defence and crown.
Details of the allegations were not revealed in court.
The peace bond includes a 12-month probationary period where Bolenback is ordered to have no direct contact with his neighbor and must attend counselling.
The judge asked Bolenback to acknowledge that he caused his neighbour, Kristi Baptiste, reason to be fearful for her safety, to which he responded ‘yes.’
Outside the courthouse, Baptiste told Global Okanagan that she does not believe Bolenback should be allowed to return to the fire department.
“I’m fairly satisfied, but I would like him off the fire department because when you’re on the fire department, you represent the town and people should trust in those people,” she said.
Bolenback has been on leave from the fire department since the allegations arose. He is allowed to attend training, but is not able to respond to emergency calls.
Bolenback told Global Okanagan that he denies any wrongdoing and hopes to return to the fire department.
When asked why he agreed to sign the peace bond and did not proceed to trial, he said he was “sick of this” as he hasn’t gone to a fire call for more than one year.
A criminal conviction would have resulted in the automatic dismissal of Bolenback from the fire department, but Oliver Fire Chief Bob Graham says the fire department has decided to reinstate Bolenback and he will continue work as a volunteer firefighter immediately.
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