Repeat offender gets 60 days after stealing $9.86

Defence points to young man's alcohol problem

A Merritt man will spend the next two months in jail after pleading guilty to stealing a total of $9.86 while perusing city streets, peering into vehicles and houses.

Lorne Dunn, 25, was arrested Thursday after several witnesses reported seeing him checking properties while carrying a baseball bat in the area of Clapperton Avenue.

Police caught up to him and he fled, but was apprehended after a short chase. Dunn, who police indicated was moderately intoxicated, handed over the cash.

Dunn has a criminal history, convictions for break-and-enters in Merritt and Kamloops, that began when he was a youth, said Crown prosecutor Chris Balison. There were further adult convictions in 2008 and 2009.

Defence counsel Don Campbell pointed to the young man's alcohol problem and noted that he is trying to obtain counselling for that.

In a joint submission, Crown and defence recommended 14 days in jail for the latest offence, but Provincial court Judge Stella Frame did not agree.

"That's a very significant step downward given his very significant record," she said.

Frame sentenced Dunn to 60 days with credit for time served. He is a member of the Lower Nicola Indian Band, but elected to waive his right to a Gladue report.

Such a report takes into consideration aboriginal background in sentencing, based on the principle that alternatives are needed since aboriginal people are disproportionately represented within the justice system.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that judges must make provision for Gladue reports or they risk violating fundamental principles of sentencing. Not all aboriginal offenders elect to go that route, which can involve restorative justice.

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