Man to serve time for break-ins on weekends

Serving weekends is much harsher than straight time, a Red Deer provincial court judge said in sentencing a Calgary man who pleaded guilty earlier on to a series of break-ins in Red Deer.

Serving weekends is much harsher than straight time, a Red Deer provincial court judge said in sentencing a Calgary man who pleaded guilty earlier on to a series of break-ins in Red Deer.

Brett Stuart Whitehill, 35, is one of two men arrested earlier last year in connection with five break-ins in Red Deer, including an incident on April 5, 2011, when an Inglewood resident interrupted a break-in at her home in the middle of the afternoon.

Court had heard previously that the woman realized something was amiss and made a hasty retreat when a piece of the door frame fell on her as she tried to enter her home.

She grabbed the keys from the suspects’ truck and phoned police, who surrounded the area and nabbed two of three suspects, including Whitehill and co-accused, Ryan Cori Callahan, 30.

Callahan was previously sentenced to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of break and enter, and a charge of resisting arrest.

While Whitehill pleaded guilty almost a year ago, his sentence was delayed to Friday afternoon to give him time to complete a drug counselling program, aimed at addressing the cocaine addiction that had fuelled his actions.

Provincial court Judge Jim Mitchell accepted a joint sentencing submission by the Crown and defence, ordering that Whitehill serve a 90-day intermittent sentence, to be served on weekends, along with 24 months of probation, with strict conditions including no alcohol or non-prescription drugs.

“There is a public misconception that this is somehow a lesser sentence. In actuality, it is exactly the opposite,” said Mitchell.

While a person sentenced to straight time can be released after serving as little as one-third and, in some cases one-sixth of the sentence, a person serving weekends remains incarcerated for every minute of the sentence, he said.

Noting the disparity between Whitehill’s and Callahan’s sentences, Mitchell pointed to key differences pointed out by Whitehill’s lawyer, Will Willms, including a much lighter criminal record, his sincere efforts at staying straight and his offer to pay restitution of $6,436.30 to the insurance company for the victims’ losses.

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