Problem alcoholic back in jail

There are very few people in the city who command the RCMP’s attention like George Chickite

There are very few people in the city who command the RCMP’s attention like George Chickite.

Since 2007, police have dealt with the problem alcoholic more than 300 times; 102 times alone in 2010.

In January, Chickite, 49, was jailed two months for uttering threats and theft which prompted Provincial Court Judge Peter Doherty to remark, “It will give the community a bit of respite.”

But on March 17, Chickite was back on the street and ran up four more convictions for breaching probation. Now he’s back in jail.

Chickite’s latest run-in with the law occurred on his birthday, June 3. It was around 9:15 p.m. when an officer was waiting near JJ’s Pub, on the lookout for potential impaired drivers, when he spotted Chickite walking.

At the time, Chickite was prohibited from going anywhere close to the nearby Lite House Centre, a daytime soup kitchen operated by the Salvation Army. It was here, on Jan. 17, where he threatened to kill a woman who allegedly owed him money.

When the officer stopped Chickite, he could also smell a strong odour of liquor, and Chickite arrested for breaching conditions of his probation. Chickite was initially co-operative, but then became verbally abusive towards the officer, complaining that he had been arrested on his birthday.

Chickite spent the weekend in a cell at the RCMP detachment and on Monday, appeared before Judge Brian Saunderson in provincial court.

At the bail hearing, Crown prosecutor John Boccabella asked for Chickite’s detention, based on the likelihood he would commit further offences or breach probation again. Boccabella also thought Chickite would be more likely to get medical help in jail for his various ailments.

“I like his chances better inside,” he told the court.

However, defence lawyer Doug Marion offered a different view. He suggested that Chickite was unlikely to get prompt medical attention because of over-crowding at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Facility in Victoria.

Marion pointed out that Chickite is suffering from a skin condition and has rashes all over his body. As well, Chickite may have alcoholic gastritis.

On his birthday, Marion said, Chickite went to the hospital due to his medical conditions and then was dropped off near JJs so he could go to a drugstore to fill a prescription.

But Judge Saunderson declined to free Chickite who has no money to post bail or to offer a surety. Judge Saunderson also ordered the sheriff to make specific enquires to ensure Chickite receives prompt medical attention and asked that a report be sent back soon to make sure his order is carried out.

Chickite is due back in court, by video appearance, on Monday.