A man who was found not guilty of breaking into multiple homes across the South Okanagan, despite DNA evidence proving he was there, was given a conditional sentence for breaking into a winery.
Kevin LeClerc appeared in Penticton’s Supreme Court on Monday, April 24 to hear the Justice’s decision on the one charge he was found guilty of at the end of 2022.
That charge was for breaking into Oliver’s Intersection Winery in 2014. There was not enough evidence to find him guilty of committing the theft, but he was found guilty of breaking in with the intention of committing a theft.
LeClerc was given a one-year conditional sentence, followed by probation for another year. For the first six months he will be under house arrest, except while working or with written permission, and then afterwards will be under a curfew.
The other four charges, for breaking in and committing thefts at a home on Cottonwood Drive in Osoyoos, a home on 37th Street in Osoyoos, a home in Naramata on Robinson Point and finally a home at Apex Mountain in 2017, were not proven to the court beyond a reasonable doubt. In some of the cases, DNA evidence that did not match LeClerc’s was also found at the scene.
Both Crown and defence proposed a conditional sentence order for the winery break-in, which was pointed to be a fairly novel condition. The two largely differed on the length of the sentence, with Crown proposing 18 months, while defence sought 12 months with a 12 month probation afterwards.
Crown noted that the law regarding a conditional sentence for a case like LeClerc was changed in November 2022 to allow for wider use of the conditional sentence.
Crown also wanted LeClerc to fulfill 100 hours of community service, something defence objected to given his current location.
Since 2019, LeClerc has stayed substance-free, and has even found employment as a logging contractor on Vancouver Island. The closest location for him to be assigned community service work would have been in Duncan.
The pre-sentencing report and the judge also noted LeClerc’s recognition of his behaviour as unacceptable and the remorse he expressed over his actions.
“I am satisfied the conduct since his release from custody demonstrate a positive trajectory away from criminality and the drug and alcohol use that was a part of that criminality towards a positive lifestyle,” said the judge.
The judge also noted that the main risk factors for LeClerc reoffending, his substance use and previous associates, have been removed from his life.
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