Surrey/North Delta Leader

No jail time for assault

Alvaro Flores as he left court after pleading guilty to assault and uttering threats. - Evan Seal/Photo
Alvaro Flores as he left court after pleading guilty to assault and uttering threats.
— image credit: Evan Seal/Photo

A man who beat a woman in her apartment and threatened a Good Samaritan has been given eight months community service for his crimes.

Judge Jean Lytwyn said it's tantamount to a jail sentence, because if he fails to comply with his orders, that's where he'll be going.

Alvaro Flores pleaded guilty to beating a woman and threatening a man on Dec. 12, 2010.

Crown Counsel Pam Bhatti read out a statement of facts to Lytwyn in Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday.

On the evening of Dec. 11, the victim played pool and had drinks with Flores and a woman he was with at a local bar. The victim felt they shared some Christian values, so they exchanged phone numbers, and the victim went home.

Soon after, Flores and his companion showed up, and the victim let them into her suite at Bon Terra Apartments.

Flores' companion fell asleep, and Flores made sexual advances toward the victim.

She rebuffed him, and Flores bea her, Bhatti told the judge.

Then the victim noticed that her couch was on fire.

"According to the girl he was with, it was Alvaro Flores that set the couch on fire," Bhatti told the judge.

Lytwyn quickly cut Bhatti off saying the court wasn't going to entertain those assertions. Flores wasn't being charged with arson.

Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman with the Criminal Justice Branch, previously told The Leader in August there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the police-recommended charges of arson against Flores.

"The Crown reviewed the available evidence and concluded that there was insufficient evidence to reliably identify Mr. Flores as the person who was responsible for the fire," MacKenzie said.

Flores and the girl he was with left the apartment and drove away in a car.

A short distance further, they crashed the car, Bhatti said.

The woman fled the vehicle as a Good Samaritan arrived to help Flores.

Flores became verbally combative with the man who came to help, threatening him if he told anyone there was a woman in the car.

"I know gang members you don't want to mess with who own police," Bhatti read from the witness account. He continued that he knows his face, and if he sees him, he will gun him down, Bhatti said, adding the Samaritan was quite shaken up by the threats.

In the victim impact statement, the woman expressed regret over what happened to her neighbours.

Forty people were evacuated from the six suites that were burned and another 10 that suffered smoke and water damage.

"I feel bad for what happened to my neighbours," the victim wrote in her statement. "I wish it just happened to me."

She is now on medication and will begin counselling shortly.

She called it "a nightmare I am haunted with daily."

In a joint submission, Crown counsel and defence for Flores asked for six months community service for the assault and another two months community service for the threats.

On Wednesday, Lytwyn said the matter of the fire was not before her, but she was taking it into account. At the very least, she said, he left the apartment knowing the couch was on fire. Yet he did nothing to extinguish it.

She sentenced him to eight months community service, and put him on conditions of a curfew and ordered that he use alcohol or drugs or carry firearms.

@diakiw

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