Man sentenced to 18 months in prison for mischief and drug charges

A Central Alberta man struggling with drugs and mental health was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

A Central Alberta man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for assault, drug possession and attempting to set fire to an apartment.

Joseph Edwin Auger, 29, pleaded guilty to a number of offences, mostly in connection with incidents last year, in Red Deer provincial court on Tuesday.

In March 2015, Auger was caught stealing a mickey from a north-end Red Deer liquor store.

In July 2015, Blackfalds RCMP were called to an argument at his father’s home. A drunk Auger punched his father in the face at one point before running off.

The same month he was arrested after police received a complaint from a doctor’s office. Police discovered a small amount of methamphetamine on him.

In another incident, he set a pair of small fires in an apartment that went out before firefighters arrived.

He was in trouble with the law again last year when he was found wandering incoherent outside an elementary school in Red Deer.

When an officer tried to arrest him he struggled before being taken into custody. A small amount of methamphetamine was found on him.

Defence lawyer Greg Gordon said Auger has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and his problems were exasperated when he did not take his medications and abused drugs at the same time.

He has been mostly homeless for about a decade but has family in the area willing to support him when he is out of jail.

He is now receiving treatment and responding well.

Auger, who has a lengthy 13-year criminal record, apologized to the court, saying he would not repeat his crimes.

He pleaded guilty to theft, assault, drug possession, mischief and several charges related to breaching probation or failing to show for court.

Red Deer provincial Court Judge Jim Hunter accepted the joint sentencing recommendation of 18 months by defence and the Crown prosecutors. Auger was given credit for his time served in prison since last October and has three weeks left to serve.