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Four months in jail for man involved in Golinowski Distributing break in

Arthur William McLean also faces a 12-month probation order
WES courthouse IMG-6625
The man involved in a late-January break in at the site of the old bottle depot in Westlock faces a four-month jail sentence.

WESTLOCK – A former area man involved in a late-January break in at the site of the old bottle depot will spend the next four months behind bars.

In Westlock Provincial Court Nov. 10, Arthur William McLean was sentenced to 120 days in jail, plus 12 months of probation by Judge Thomas Achtymichuk — McLean had pleaded guilty Sept. 1 to shop breaking with intent, while charges of mischief to property under $5,000 and possession of break-in instruments were dropped. McLean, who appeared in court via CCTV from the Edmonton Remand Centre, also faces a $100 victim fine surcharge, is banned from the site of break in and from contacting the owner and will have submit a sample of his DNA to authorities.

Judge Achtymichuk took the middle ground on sentencing, as Crown prosecutor Scott Niblock had asked for a year behind bars, while defence lawyer Crystal McMahon was seeking a six-to-12-month conditional sentence citing “serious Gladue concerns” while pointing to the fact McLean was high on drugs and homeless at that time of his arrest.

Although Judge Achtymichuk took in account the pre-sentence Gladue Report, McLean’s early guilty plea and his pledge to get off drugs and turn his life around, he couldn’t dismiss the 41 prior convictions over the last 15 years for property and drug offences on his criminal record.

“The court can’t ignore the extensive criminal record you have and I presume that you have said similar things to the court in the past about wanting to make changes to your life and getting away from the pattern of criminal behaviour you have and yet here we are,” said Judge Achtymichuk, noting a February 2019 sentence where McLean was sent to jail for 15 months on 23 offences.

“When I take in account the Gladue factors that I’ve seen here … there was substance abuse growing up within the home and it progressed to more serious drugs. There’s poverty, there’s lack of educational achievement, dropping out of school at Grade 8. Employment issues, because of addictions issues and not all your family relationships have been healthy. They all play a part here.

“But I am still satisfied that you still present a danger to the community and as long as you still present a danger to the community then generally speaking conditional sentence orders are not appropriate. With your record, for that long, with that many convictions, all for related offences and with you still struggling with addictions issues there is a risk of you continuing to reoffend in the community.”

The 36-year-old McLean, who’s now living in Sherwood Park and taking care of his two young children, told the judge he’s “grown by leaps and bounds” following the break in and had been working in construction throughout the summer.

“I’m not the same guy I was in January. I went from being homeless and stealing vehicles and all that stuff to working every day, committed to being sober and committed to being with my family,” said McLean, wiping tears from his eyes. “Addiction still is a battle in my life that I struggle with every day. I wish God would take the desire away, but it’s not that easy. I’m just trying to do the best I can to get better and hopefully one day beat this addiction and remain sober.”

The crime

Following McLean’s Sept. 1 guilty plea, Crown prosecutor James Wilson told court that in the early-morning hours of Jan. 26, RCMP responded to a break-and-enter call at Golinowski Distributing, the former site of the bottle depot. On scene police saw fresh footprints in the snow on the other side of the locked fence to the property — the building’s owner was on scene and unlocked the gate for police to enter.

During their search police eventually McLean lying on the floor of a motorhome. Meanwhile a co-accused, Travis Jean, was also found hiding under a semi-trailer. On further investigation, RCMP noted damage to the driver’s-side door of a Ford pickup truck, while its ignition switch had been mangled. Inside the truck they also found a backpack that had McLean’s ID, pliers and a wrench.

George Blais,

George Blais

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