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A YOUNG man who committed two break-ins, one to steal food and the other alcohol, was given a break by the provincial court judge here May 22.
Dennis Jay Neasloss Jr., 21, was given a suspended sentence and 12 months probation with conditions after pleading guilty to one charge each of break and enter and commit indictable offence, break and enter with intent to commit offence and one breach of undertaking.
“[This] gives you quite a bit more liberty than the [60-day conditional] sentence suggested. I hope you don’t screw it up because if you do, the next judge will be told of the kind of break you got here today and you’re probably not going to get any more breaks,” said Judge David St. Pierre.
On Oct. 17, 2011, three people broke into the Clarence Michiel building of Suwilaawks Community School by smashing a window and stole a kettle, coffee and cereal, prosecutor Barry Zacharias told court in reviewing the circumstances before sentencing.
When arrested by police and taken to the detachment, Neasloss admitted that all three of them had broken the window to get in and left by a door, court heard.
Two weeks before that date, he had been released on a promise to appear in court with conditions not to contact one of his accomplices in this break in and was put on a curfew from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
On June 29, 2011, thieves broke into the Shanghai Dynasty restaurant by using a rock to break a window and stole a cash register and four bottles of alcohol, which Neasloss admitted in a statement to police, court heard.
Defence lawyer Scott Mulder told court his client had been on social assistance for about three weeks and before that had been on a community living program paid for by the Ministry of Children and Families – he had been a permanent ward of the ministry – while he worked on completing his high school.
But when Neasloss dropped out of school, said Mulder, the ministry cut off his financial assistance, leaving him without anything.
“He broke into the school and stole cereal, coffee and a kettle so he could feed himself,” said Mulder.
Neasloss has taken responsibility for his actions all along, court heard.
“He needs to do better and has no support,” Mulder said.
Before passing sentence, St. Pierre did tell Neasloss there are people who are glad to help and to provide assistance.
“People usually are so impressed you asked for help, they bend over backwards to help you get it,” said St. Pierre.
“You just have to be the type of person who will accept it.”
Plenty of people have been in the same situation and gone on to become quite successful, said St. Pierre.
“You can be one of those people,” he told Neasloss.
Neasloss will have to complete 30 hours community work service, which St. Pierre advised could be in a field of interest and not just whatever his probation supervisor suggests, not go within 50 metres of the Clarence Michiel building or Shanghai Dynasty and write letters of apology to the restaurant and school.
“Things like this hurt the community but you are part of the community. It is like burning down your own house. People want to feel safe in their own community. Don’t be part of the problem Mr. Neasloss,” said St. Pierre.