By Trevor Busch
In Taber provincial court on Jan. 26, a 27-year-old local man pled guilty to break and enter with intent and being disguised with intent. Ryan James Smith was sentenced to three years of incarceration by Judge J.N. LeGrandeur. A further charge of robbery was withdrawn by the Crown.
Crown prosecutor Michael Fox explained the facts of the case to the court. On the early morning of April 21, 2015, the accused and two other males arrived at the residence of a known drug dealer in the community with the intention of unlawfully entering the residence to obtain drugs and other proceeds of theft. Disguising themselves by pulling their shirts over their faces, Smith and his accomplices proceeded to kick in the door to the residence and then entered while declaring “Yo, this is a robbery.”
A brief struggle ensued between the homeowner and one of Smith’s accomplices which resulted in minor injury to the victim. A female was also present in the residence at the time of the incident.
After obtaining an undisclosed quantity of cash and drugs, Smith and his accomplices left the residence and fled the vicinity. The incident was reported to the Taber Police Service who initiated an investigation, and, following a lead provided to them in September 2015, questioned the accused, who admitted to being a participant in the break, enter and theft. Smith was charged with various offences.
Characterized by Fox as a “spur of the moment” offence, he noted that at the time of the incident, the accused had suffered from an oxycontin/fentanyl prescription medication addiction.
Smith, who appeared via CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, had been previously convicted of theft under $5,000 in 2014, two counts of possession of stolen property and four counts of theft under $5,000 in 2010, and break, enter and theft in 2008.
Judge LeGrandeur acknowledged Smith had already spent 139 days in pre-trial custody, which were credited against his sentence. Other conditions include a 10-year weapons prohibition, and Smith was also ordered to surrender a sample of his DNA to the National DNA Data Bank. A $400 victim-fine surcharge was also issued.