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Crown to reassess “banishment” sentence on Nelson man

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

A Nelson man who was banished from the city for 18 months after he was convicted of harassment was back in court today.

Michael Arrak, 26, was convicted of criminal harassment and ordered by a judge in Nelson Monday to leave the city, his mother told The Nelson Daily Wednesday.

However, Annely said the Crown had called her one day before Michael was required to leave the city and scheduled a “reassessment” of the situation.

“It looks like he won’t be sent to Vancouver because they realize now that is not the way to deal with somebody, throwing them on the streets of another town and letting them fend for themselves,” she said before heading to court.

Neither Annely nor Michael’s counsel, Winlaw lawyer Kenyon McGee, could be reached for comment after the case adjourned Wednesday.

Annely believed the story that aired on the CBC Wednesday was the reason the Crown wanted to re-examine her son’s case.

Along with her other son, Annely said the Crown may have re-considered in light of the fact the son of a Russian immigrant only had two people in his life he could depend on.

“Now they want the family input,” said Annely. “Nobody told me, nobody contacted me about the Monday (trial) so I wasn’t even there.

“We’ve been the ones with him trying to deal with this over all of these years, trying to support and to help Michael.”

Michael has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but the medical profession did not “really know what is going on” with her son, said Annely.  Last year a psychiatrist admitted to Annely the system had failed her son and it was not his fault, and they did not know how to help him.

The judge Monday found Michael guilty after speaking to the mother of his ex-girlfriend on the street. According to the CBC, he had previously been convicted of harassment and ordered not to speak with his former girlfriend or her family.

The jobless and penniless Michael was ordered by the judge to leave the city by noon on Thursday, Jan. 13 and to not return until his probation period ended in 18 months. Annely said neither Michael nor his lawyer argued against the banishment order.

“The solution or what has to be done is still in the air,” said Annely.