KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A B.C. judge had harsh words for a man who tried to intimidate his daughter into lying in court after four of his children were taken into foster care due to “deplorable” living conditions.
“If you encourage people to lie to you, intimidate people to get them to lie in court, you can expect jail,” Provincial court Judge Steven Harrison said.
He called Darrell Batke’s actions “bullying.”
Harrison noted the ongoing care of Batke’s 23-year-old disabled son as an exceptional circumstance that kept the man from spending time behind bars.
Instead, Batke, 49, was sentenced to a four-month term of house arrest and one year of probation after pleading guilty to one count of attempting to pervert, defeat or obstruct justice.
The terms of his house arrest include a condition that he have no contact with his four children in foster care other than as ordered by a family-court judge.
Crown lawyer Adrienne Murphy described a harrowing existence on the family’s 10-acre farm in Louis Creek, about 60 kilometres north of Kamloops.
“The conditions of the home are described as being deplorable,” Murphy said, referring to the home’s kitchen as “makeshift.”
“The children had no furniture in their rooms other than a mattress they would drag from room to room.
“In the living room, the sole piece of furniture is the back seat of the family van.”
Court heard three of Batke’s five children asked a neighbour to call police after an incident at the house on May 18, 2013.
Batke kicked his 11-year-old son out of the house for misbehaving, threatening to shoot him if he didn’t leave the property.
The boy left, but approached his mother’s vehicle when she arrived home with pizza a short time later. Batke found the boy hiding and eating pizza in the family van and forcefully took the food from him.
That resulted in a neighbour calling police, and four of the five children were taken into foster care immediately.
The fifth child is a 23-year-old son with the mental capacity of a six-month-old baby.
Court heard he was misdiagnosed as an infant and suffered irreparable brain damage, for which Batke was awarded a large sum of money following a malpractice suit.
The money was used to buy the Louis Creek property.
Late in the summer of 2013, during a supervised visit to a mall with two of his daughters, ages 12 and 10, Batke issued an expletive-laden threat to one of the girls, saying, “You better lie to the ... court, you ... ."
That was in reference to a separate charge he was facing connected to the pizza incident involving his son.
"It’s an appalling way for a parent, of all people, to conduct themselves with a child," Harrison said.
“This sort of offence goes to the heart of the criminal-justice system." (Kamloops This Week)
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