'Silly' dispute between neighbours behind blockade, says judge

Blocking his neighbour's use of a section of roadway was part of a "silly" dispute between two men - not a larger scheme to get revenge on the neighbourhood, a judge ruled Friday.

Gerhard Tscheppe was acquitted of obstructing a highway. He was charged more than a year ago after he chained off access to Shuswap Lake near the end of a cul-de-sac street off of the Squilax-Anglemont Highway at Magna Bay.

Tscheppe lives there with his girlfriend Renate Kals.

The Crown claimed Tscheppe blocked off the public access at the lower end of the lane way to exact revenge on his neighbours because they were upset about Kals renting out rooms in her house.

Judge Chris Cleaveley said there was no evidence to support that allegation, however. In the end, the judge said he believes the chain barricade was one chapter in a silly dispute between Tscheppe and one of his immediate neighbours.

Tscheppe claimed his neighbour deliberately used his snowblower to pile snow on his property from the road, and turned the sprinklers on him and Kals as they walked down the beach. The neighbour, for his part, greatly embellished the effect the chain barricade had on his ability to get to his own property.

There is no doubt, the judge added, there have been no meaningful communications between Tscheppe and his neighbour for years.

In the end, however, the Crown needed to show there was an element of intimidation in the blockage and that was not present in this case.

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