Saturday April 19, 2014

Dumpster arsonist released to recovery house

Crown opposes move, saying she remains a risk to the community

A woman who lit a series of dumpster fires downtown was released on bail Thursday after spending four months in psychiatric hospital and jail.

Judge Chris Cleaveley agreed to send Tara Brenning to a drug and alcohol treatment centre in Surrey following a submission from her lawyer, Don Campbell.

Brenning, 31, has pleaded guilty to four counts of arson for a burning spree on the morning of Sept. 10. She lit dumpsters outside Hotel 540, Henry Leland House, Frick and Frack Tap House as well as behind another hotel.

The Crown opposed Brenning’s release to a recovery house.

“She’s too much of a risk in the community,” said prosecutor Chris Balison, who argued she should remain in jail until her sentence hearing.

But Campbell argued it’s taken time to line up a recovery bed for Brenning and she has been stable while in jail. The Kamloops woman is on a number of psychiatric medications.

She is due to be sentenced on the arson charges in the new year. Crown has asked for a pre-sentence report with a psychiatric component.

Cleaveley accepted the plan to send Brenning to a recovery house, but with conditions. Those include an evening curfew and no-alcohol or drugs condition.

Brenning is also forbidden from being in Kamloops, except to attend court, and is subject to a condition that she take medication as prescribed.

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