Ronald Teneycke is escorted out of Penticton’s courthouse in the summer, following hearings on a Crown application for a dangerous offender application for the notorious South Okanagan criminal. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Okanagan man ‘elated’ at criminal’s indefinite sentence

‘Evidence of treatability does not even justify an expression of hope,’ judge tells Ronald Teneycke

UPDATED: 2:20 p.m.

Wayne Belleville breathed a sigh of relief after the man who shot him in the back as he ran from his truck in 2015 was handed one of the most severe sentence available to judges.

Ronald Teneycke, one of the South Okanagan’s most notorious criminals, was handed an indeterminate sentence as part of a dangerous offender designation Thursday morning. That means he will have no maximum term in prison, with parole eligibility in seven years and every two years after that.

“I’m obviously elated. It’s the best case scenario. He was given the harshest penalty available and it’s exactly what he deserved,” Belleville said after Thursday’s hearing.

“His 15 minutes of infamy are now over, and I look forward to never hearing his name again.”

Related: Ronald Teneycke diagnosed with leukemia

Teneycke had agreed to receiving the dangerous offender label in hearings in the summer, meaning he joins a club of rare offenders deemed “dangerous” according to the Criminal Code of Canada.

Just 681 offenders were serving time with a dangerous offender designation across Canada in 2016.

In court, Teneycke appeared to nod off through the hearing, with lawyer Michael Welsh noting he had been on some prescription drugs. Welsh suggested a 12-year sentence and tried to argue Teneycke was making new efforts to correct his ways.

Related: Teneycke saw himself as the victim



Teneycke in slim company
By the end of the 2015/16 fiscal year, only 681 inmates in the federal corrections system were designated dangerous offenders (DOs). Only 50 DOs were in the community.
The remaining 631 DOs in custody make up 4.3 per cent of the entire in-custody population in the federal prison system.
Since 1978, just 802 offenders have received the DO designation.
Currently, there are 114 active dangerous offenders in B.C., out of 144 in the province since 1978, the second highest in the country after Ontario’s 278 active DOs. Of the active B.C. DOs, 105 are on indeterminate sentences.
The number of annual DO designations has been steadily increasing since 1978. Check out the graph below from Public Safety Canada to see the trend. (Click for a larger image.)
The trend of dangerous offender designations by fiscal year from Public Safety Canada went up from six in 1978 to 65 in 2015.
Sources: Statistics Canada, Public Safety Canada

Judge Richard Hewson did not buy it.

“You are grasping at straws. The evidence of treatability does not even justify an expression of hope,” he said, citing a doctor’s analysis.

In July 2015, Teneycke robbed the Eastside Market in Oliver at gunpoint with a handgun later found to be defunct, making off with about $190 in cash. Five days later, when Belleville offered him a ride into Oliver, Teneycke threatened Belleville with a gun and shot him in the back as he ran away from the truck. He then demanded Belleville’s keys and phone with a gun pointed to his head.

Related: Dangerous offender application going ahead for Teneycke

Belleville was able to get back to the road where he collapsed, unconscious and was found by a driver.

He was rushed by paramedics to the hospital and flown to Kelowna General Hospital, where he underwent surgery for the bullet that ruptured his spleen, which needed to be removed. One of his lungs had also collapsed.

“I’m feeling good,” Belleville said of his health, adding he is back to work, now.

“I have picked up hitchhikers (since), and I wouldn’t hesitate to give someone a hand if they need it. The odds of that happening again are astronomical. I mean, the odds of it happening once are ridiculous.”

Related: Dramatic conclusion in RCMP hunt for Teneycke



About dangerous offenders
The dangerous offender designation was created in 1977 after repealing the habitual and dangerous sexual offender designations, created in 1947 and 1948 respectively.
The change came after a report called the “Ouimet report” from the Canadian Committee on Corrections, which recommended a total overhaul of the regime.
Since 1978, 70.9 per cent of all DO designations have had at least one conviction for a sexual offence. Ronald Teneycke has had at least two.
Only four women have been given a DO designation.
Conversely, Indigenous offenders (Teneycke identifies as Metis) accounted for 33.2 per cent of DOs and just 22.7 per cent of the total offender population. Indigenous people account for just 4.5 per cent of the total population of Canada.
Sources: Statistics Canada, Public Safety Canada

Teneycke led police on a lengthy chase throughout the Similkameen and South Okanagan, driving around spike belts and roadblocks. It took police ramming his vehicle six times before he was immobilized. An officer fired eight shots at his vehicle before his arrest.

“Mr. Teneycke asked police ‘why didn’t you kill me? Start something, but you don’t have the balls to finish it,’” Hewson said.

That incident is among Teneycke’s 37 years of experience with the law, with his first in 1981 at only 18 years old.

Related: Dangerous offender hearing starts

That first conviction was theft under $5,000, and the crimes escalated until 1987, when he got more than five years for robbing a taxi driver with a weapon.

In 1991, he was convicted of sexual exploitation — the victim a teenage daughter of a woman he married while in prison. In 1995, he was sentenced to eight years for sexual assault on a teenage girl.

“The victim was terrorized. Armed with a knife, he had taken her to a secluded area, forced her to commit a series of sexual acts over the course of about four hours,” Hewson said.

Related: Last chance for prolific offender Teneycke

In 1996, he was sentenced to four years for uttering threats to kill the probation officer who prepared the pre-sentence report from his 1995 conviction.

His record continues from 2007 until his final arrest in 2015.

In the map: Green markers are events from the first day, blue the fifth day, orange the sixth day and purple the seventh day.

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Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

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