KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A Kamloops, B.C., woman who attacked two people with a metal pipe she pulled from her purse has been spared a jail sentence, though a judge warned her behaviour could mean more time behind bars.
Tracey Portelance, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a weapon involving an Oct. 13 incident when she tried to protect her boyfriend, who allegedly fled from two people who said they saw him rifling through cars in a parking lot.
Crown lawyer Adrienne Murphy said the owner of an autobody shop called an employee to help when he saw a man going through several cars.
Murphy said the store owner grabbed Robert Pattison, Portelance's boyfriend and co-accused, by the backpack as he tried to scale a fence and held him until police could arrive.
That’s when Portelance appeared and hit the shop owner and his employee with a metal pipe she pulled out of her purse.
“Ms. Portelance did have a piece of pipe or baton," Murphy said.
“That’s an unusual item. It did appear she was using it for a purpose.”
Portelance has also pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property involving an incident a month earlier when she was caught by RCMP driving a stolen car.
Eric Rines, an articling student who defended Portelance, said his client has a recent criminal record and has struggled with mental health problems, alcohol and crystal meth addiction.
“Ms. Portelance is in a relationship with Mr. Pattison,” Rines said.
“She saw what she believed was Mr. Pattison being attacked.”
Rines called the arrest “a wake-up call," adding Portelance has worked in the past as a secretary, a data entry clerk and customer service representative.
Provincial court Judge Chris Cleaveley sentenced Portelance to time already served.
He also placed Portelance on probation for one year and issued a curfew restricting the woman to her home during evenings.
Portelance has also been ordered to have no contact with Pattison.
“You’re close to getting more time in jail here,” Cleaveley said.
Pattison has remained in custody since he was arrested and faces a charge of break and enter.
Allegations against him have not been proven in court. (Kamloops This Week)