Judge concludes White Rock woman has 'reasonable grounds' to fear neighbour

Judge concludes White Rock woman has ‘reasonable grounds’ to fear neighbour

A peace bond has been imposed against a White Rock man who neighbours claim has been persistent in unwanted contacts with them.

A peace bond has been imposed against a White Rock man who neighbours claim has been persistent in unwanted contacts with them.

Judge Ann Rounthwaite delivered the decision in Surrey Provincial Court July 25, telling Roderick Louis, 49, he would have to obey the conditions of the bond for a year or forfeit a surety of $500 and face possible criminal charges.

Charges of “fear of injury/damage by another person” were sworn against Louis in April 2012.

Rounthwaite, in a 19-page decision, said there was enough evidence to conclude that Karen York, a fellow resident of the apartment building in the 1300-block of Martin Drive, has “reasonable grounds to fear” Louis.

The conditions imposed by Rounthwaite call for Louis to have no direct or indirect contact with York, to keep the peace, to not possess weapons or ammunition and to not make video or audio recordings or photos of other residents.

The proceedings stemmed from an October 2011 incident in which York, formerly president of the building’s strata council, alleged she was followed and filmed by a man to the point she feared for her personal safety.

Louis, who represented himself throughout the proceedings, said outside court that he intends to appeal Rounthwaite’s decision.

He has previously told the Peace Arch News that he has lived at the building for 13 years and is a former advocate for the mentally ill. He alleged that much of the evidence presented about him was being “deliberately exaggerated and amplified.”

Louis argued in court that his recording of his interaction with other residents without their knowledge was for his own protection in the dispute, in case his behaviour was mis-characterized.

But Rounthwaite, in upholding the recording ban, said it – and other activities Louis acknowledged while presenting his case –  “would reasonably cause residents to believe that you were spying on them.”

In earlier testimony, another resident said she, too, had experienced unwanted contact.

Karen Clarke, 70, told the court her troubles with Louis began when she was on the strata council. She described his behaviour as “almost to the point of stalking” – from appearing in the underground parking lot whenever she was there to locking the elevator with just the two of them inside so he could ask her questions.

“I don’t think Roderick realized the number of times he scared me,” Clarke told Rounthwaite.

The behaviour led Clarke to change her phone number, start parking on the street and to try to sell her unit, she said.

In cross-examination, Louis confirmed Clarke had previously lived in the building and questioned why, if she was scared of him, had she moved back.

Regarding the underground parking, Louis noted he and Clarke’s assigned spots were side-by-side, and suggested that would increase the likelihood of the two of them running into each other.

To the latter, Clarke pointed out that Louis hadn’t driven his car in the six years she had lived there, and yet he appeared whenever she was there. Regarding moving back to the building, Clarke said she had only met Louis on two occasions over the course of her first stint as a resident and “never knew there was any trouble.”

When Louis suggested that in order for the relationship between the neighbours to change, “there has to be a willingness to treat Roderick with respect,” Clarke said it is too late for that.

“You’ve gone too far for too many years,” she said.

– with files from Alex Browne