PENTICTON - A Penticton man escaped further jail time following sentencing in court today for a lengthy list of heroin-fueled crimes.
Instead, Jared Joseph Browne will serve a two-year conditional sentence in the community after Penticton judge Gregory Koturbash was swayed by arguments from defence lawyer Kathryn Lundman.
Browne pled guilty to nine charges, including break and enter, possession of stolen property under $5,000, four counts of breach, fraud, and two counts of theft under $5,000 in Penticton court today, Oct. 11.
Crown Prosecutor Andrew Vandersluys told court Browne’s troubles with the law began early in the morning of Nov. 8, 2016 when he and an accomplice were first seen rummaging through a Green Avenue carport.
Before police arrived, the two sped off on bicycles, only to be the subjects of another call to police, this time reported at Tiffany Gardens on Wilson Street, a short distance away.
The two were seen removing items from a garage and storage shed on the property, piling the items up near a dumpster. When they saw police the two men jumped a nearby fence and fled, but were caught by police a short time later.
A search of Browne’s person revealed tools and a debit card belonging to someone else.
He was released, but on March 21, 2017, wasn’t present at his place of residence during a police curfew check.
On April 3, 2017, police were called to a King Street residence where the property owner told officers he’d had his Ford Escape rummaged through. His wallet and credit cards were missing, and four purchases totalling $64.16 had been made.
Surveillance footage from one of the retail businesses revealed Browne as the one making the transactions.
On June 19, Penticton RCMP were monitoring a bait bike parked in front of London Drugs when a GPS device indicated the bike was in motion. Police tracked the bike to an alley near Kinney Avenue where Browne was found sitting next to it, sweating profusely. He was found to have numerous women’s cosmetics on him.
Police subsequently learned of a loss prevention officer’s report of a shoplifting incident at the Real Canadian Superstore where someone matching Browne’s description had taken cosmetics earlier in the day. Browne was arrested once again.
Police then made a curfew check on Browne’s supposed residence on July 11 at the Granada Motor Inn, only to find he wasn’t even registered there.
Browne then failed to report to his bail supervisor several more times in July, finally communicating with the office in a voice mail on July 31.
He was arrested and jailed on Aug. 25.
Vandersluys asked Judge Koturbash to consider a total of 253 days’ jail time for the offences, followed by 18 months’ probation.
Defence lawyer Kathryn Lundman said her 20-year-old client, who had a limited record, suffered from a heroin addiction.
She said Browne had a job waiting for him upon his release, in addition to having a place to stay. He was also on the wait list at Discovery House for addiction treatment.
His prospective employer, who presented a letter to the court, was also in the gallery witnessing the proceedings.
Lundman asked the judge to consider 12 months’ house arrest followed by six months’ curfew.
Browne told the judge his time in jail convinced him he “didn’t ever want to be in here again.”
Judge Koturbash told Browne he had a “very good lawyer” in Lundman, noting her persuasive submissions on his behalf.
The judge also noted Browne’s initiatives to enrol in a treatment centre and take positive steps to get off heroin. He also appreciated the fact Browne’s prospective employer appeared in court to stand by him.
“What you are going to need to appreciate, sir, is people are getting really tired of people skulking around in the mornings, at night… you, in the daytime, rummaging through vehicles, a garage, carport, trying to break into properties. It’s really becoming quite tiring that people are doing this to feed their addictions,” the judge said.
Browne was sentenced to a 12 month conditional sentence, minus enhanced time served of 71 days. He’ll also be expected to serve 50 hours of community work and participate in a restorative justice program if required.
Browne’s sentence will be followed by 12 months’ probation.
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