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Penticton judge's sentence shows hope for rehabilitation of thief

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May 02, 2017 - 5:13 PM

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PENTICTON - A Penticton judge found some reasons for hope of rehabilitation prior to sentencing a man for break and enter, and drug possession in court today.

Dustin Allan Wilson, 21, entered guilty pleas on two counts of break and enter, possession of stolen property under $5,000, theft under $5,000, breach and two counts of possession of a controlled substance in Penticton court today, May 2.

Wilson’s troubles began with a breach of his bail conditions for not telling his bail supervisor he’d moved to Vernon on Oct. 7, 2015, Crown prosecutor Kurt Froehlich told the court.

On Dec. 3, 2016, Wilson was caught shoplifting by a Penticton Walmart loss prevention officer. A search of his person and a backpack he was carrying revealed cologne, shoe polish, conditioner and a utility knife that he hadn’t paid for. He also had a round of ammunition, which was a bail breach as well.

Penticton RCMP were investigating four complaints of bike theft from a Calgary Avenue building between Feb. 14 and Feb. 21, when Wilson was identified from video surveillance as a person entering the building’s garage.

Wilson was seen leaving a $1,500 bicycle previously stolen from a Skaha Lake Road address. The bike had been removed from a secure residence after the lock had been cut, and left at the Calgary Avenue residence. It was subsequently returned to its owner.

On Feb. 23, Wilson was stopped by police on Winnipeg Street with a mountain bike stolen from a Wade Avenue home. Police arrested Wilson for possession of stolen property, and a search of his person and personal effects revealed bolt cutters, a wrench, pry bar, screwdrivers, and several garage door openers. He was also in possession of 1.28 grams of methamphetamine.

Wilson told police he had bought the bike for $300. He said he was in the Calgary Avenue residence to pump up tires.

In addition, Wilson said he borrowed the bike reported stolen from the Skaha Lake Road address from a friend and abandoned it after the tires “popped.”

Froehlich asked Judge Koturbash to consider a seven to nine month sentence, followed by a year’s probation.

Wilson has been in jail since his arrest on Feb. 23.

Federal Crown prosecutor Ginger Holmes told court Wilson had 11 prior convictions for drug offences, indication drug addiction as an issue. She recommended a seven day sentence for the drug possession charge as well as counselling for drug use.

Defence lawyer James Pennington said when his client moved to Penticton he fell in with the wrong crowd.

He said his client “didn’t stop to think" about the good deal he was getting in purchasing the stolen bike he was on, claiming it was purchased with a welfare check.

He added his client claimed to have done carpentry work in the past, and had lent the tools found in his backpack to a friend. He was in the process of retrieving them when apprehended by police. No explanation was available for the numerous garage door openers Wilson was carrying.

Pennington said his client knew he needed help and that was the reason he agreed to an early guilty plea. He asked the judge to consider a six month sentence plus time served.

Wilson told the court he had been taking courses while in jail to improve his life and said he had been “going down a shitty-ass path and that he didn’t want to let anyone down anymore."

“I’m not doing this for shits and giggles,” he said.

“You’re a young person and it would certainly be much too early to give up on you and throw away the key,” Judge Gregory Koturbash said prior to handing down his sentence.

“When I listen to the circumstances, I’m thinking to myself, here’s a young guy, he’s got a decent haircut, I know (your defence lawyer) Mr. Pennington likes short haircuts," the judge said. "You’re not adverse to working and you certainly aren’t adverse to working late nights, you’ve been out and about, skulking around in different parkades and that kind of stuff, late at night."

Koturbash was impressed by the positive steps Wilson had taken in improving himself.

"You’re not adverse to exercise, you like biking, and I thought too, you’re mobile, you get around town, and also you exercise self care. The stuff you took from Walmart, you took cologne and hair products, it looks like you take care of yourself too, and you’re improving your education, so I’m beginning to wonder, why don’t you just go out and get a job?"

Koturbash sentenced Wilson to 220 days in jail. With time served he has 152 days remaining in his sentence. He’ll be on probation for 12 months upon release.


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