Vernon woman who set fire to cedar hedge pleads guilty | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon woman who set fire to cedar hedge pleads guilty

A hedge fire near an apartment building in Vernon is seen in this image from Facebook, Friday, July 20, 2018.
Image Credit: Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Sharon Pratico
February 13, 2019 - 6:00 PM

VERNON - A 28-year-old Vernon woman who set fire to a cedar hedge before being arrested later that day following an incident where she poured barbeque sauce over a motorhome, pled guilty to numerous mischief charges today, Feb. 13.

Jaylyn Raie Smith was arrested in Vernon July 20, 2018 and charged with arson and mischief following the hedge fire and a series of events that followed that day. Smith has remained in custody since Nov. 3 after being arrested again and charged with mischief, resisting arrest and a breach of her bail conditions following an incident at her mother's home.

Smith, appearing at the Vernon Courthouse by video, pled guilty to the lesser charge of mischief and not arson, as well as five other charges for mischief, resisting arrest and a breach of bail conditions.

The court heard that on the morning of July 20, 2018 Vernon firefighters responded to a cedar hedge fire at the 3600 block of 27th Avenue, Vernon. Firefighters managed to put the fire out without it spreading. About one hour later police were called to the 3800 block of 27th Ave, after an eye witness said he'd seen a woman pouring barbeque sauce over his motorhome and "yelling and swearing and talking to herself." Smith was arrested shortly afterwards. The eye witness had said at the time Smith was fiddling with the RV's gas tank, although police did not have enough evidence to charge Smith in relation to that.

Smith was arrested again Nov. 3, 2018 following an incident at her mother's home where she lived. A neighbour called police saying they heard neighbours fighting. After arriving at the address RCMP officers arrested Smith, who they found hiding under the bed with a meth pipe and cigarette lighter on her person. Both items were a breach of her bail terms. The court heard that Smith's mother had said she wanted to be protected from her daughter.

Defence lawyer Claire Mastop said Smith had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had a history of substance addiction. The court heard on July 20, Smith had been in intentional withdrawal as she was trying to get off drugs. The court also heard she was now responding well to new drugs to treat her bipolar disorder.

The Crown had requested a 112-day prison sentence noting she had been in custody for 140 days already. With credit for time served, Judge Morgan sentenced Smith to 12 months probation with conditions.

"The whole focus is on rehabilitation," the Judge said. Along with a ban on not having a cigarette lighter, and take counselling, Smith was ordered not to have contact with her mother unless for family counselling.

Judge Morgan said the conditions would not include Smith abstaining from street drugs.

"I feel that's just setting her up for a further breach," Judge Morgan said.

The Judge noted that Smith had a criminal record dating back to 2008 but no criminal offences between 2011 and 2015. He told Smith if she stayed off drugs and took her medication, "these gaps could just be your life."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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