(Black Press file image)

Man facing charge for alleged assault in Trail library

The suspect is slated for a first court appearance this summer

Police are recommending charges for a 59-year-old Trail man after a city staffer was assaulted in the library a few weeks ago.

“I can confirm that a City of Trail employee was physically assaulted at the Riverfront Centre,” David Perehudoff, Chief Administrator Officer, told the Trail Times. “I am coming up on 24 years with the city, and while there have been a number of ‘verbal assaults’ and threats that employees have been subjected to over the years, when an incident like this occurs it takes it to a whole new level,” he said.

“The people who now attend the Riverfront Centre are being carefully monitored, further, to various safety measures that have been implemented since the facility was opened. The safety of our employees, as well the public who use the facility, is the highest of priorities and we will continue to assess the situation going forward in light of this latest incident.”

The municipality does have a Violence in the Workplace policy that governs situations of non-criminal assault, which is an occupational health and safety must for all employers in British Columbia.

Given the criminal nature of this case, however, the RCMP was brought in and necessary support was provided to the employee.

“The city followed up as required further to the situation that presented itself,” Perehudoff explained. “But we rarely, if ever, have to address issues where a member of the public physically assaults an employee that gives rise to criminal charges. So in this case, the RCMP did the investigation and recommended charges to Crown counsel, which should now form part of the public court record.”

Sgt. Mike Wicentowich revealed in a Monday news brief that the Trail and Greater District RCMP investigated the incident, which occurred inside the library on April 29.

“The suspect was arrested by the RCMP after the assault,” he reported. “And he was placed on conditions not to attend the library or have any contact with the victim.”

The man is scheduled to make his first appearance in Rossland Provincial Court on July 4.

“The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP and the City of Trail are reviewing the matter in order to identify solutions to prevent future incidents,” said Wicentowich.

Statistics show that claims related to acts of violence in B.C. workplaces have been steadily increasing over the last decade — despite the general downward trend of all claims in recent years – according to WorkSafeBC data.

The impact of workplace violence can be far-reaching, impacting not just the worker but family, co-workers, the employer, and community.

“In addition to the human cost of physical and emotional injury, there is a financial cost for medical care, compensation for lost work days, and lost productivity,” WorkSafeBC states.”We continue to proactively address the issue of workplace violence … through occupational health and safety regulations designed to protect workers, partnerships with government and industry to provide violence prevention training and information, research into causes and prevention, (as well as) support and programs for the workers who have been affected, their families, and co-workers.”

WorkSafeBC statistics are published annually as part of a year-end report and service plan. Each year, WorkSafeBC focuses on one area of workplace injury, and last studied violence in the workplace in 2015. Those stats revealed 1,954 claims from people for time lost from work related to acts of violence in the workplace. That number represented an increase of more than 17 per cent from the year previous.

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