HUNTSVILLE - A Huntsville man will spend the next 17 months in jail after he pleaded guilty to breaking into a local home and breaching his probation order.
Justin Yeo, 26, was found guilty in Huntsville court last Wednesday of break enter and theft and breaching his probation order. The probation order was made in June 2011 and is in force until next February.
According to information provided to the court by Crown attorney Margaret Janzen, Huntsville OPP received a call at 3 a.m. on June 21 from a 46-year-old woman who stated that an intruder had broken into her house.
She told police when they arrived at the scene that she had been sleeping on the couch watching television, something she routinely did when her husband was away. She woke up to find a man trying to remove her blanket. She startled the man who then fled the property.
The woman went to check on her son and they called police soon after. She also told police that the man had a strong odour of alcohol and noted that three bottles of wine were missing.
Huntsville OPP tracked the area with the assistance of canine units and were led to a home in the Hunters Bay area, which was about two blocks away from the victim’s home.
Janzen said they knew Yeo lived in the area and went to his home to investigate. His father answered the door and told police his son was there. Police found the suspect’s shoes, which they discovered were wet. Yeo was then arrested.
Yeo, the court heard, has an extensive criminal record with a number of break, enter and theft charges and numerous probation breaches.
Yeo, according to defence lawyer Peter Ward, was asleep when his parents went to bed, then got up and consumed a dozen beers. He left the family home and came across the vicitim’s house, a residence that Ward said Yeo did not know.
He saw the wine rack and pried one of the doors open to get inside, Ward added.
Ward said his client had spent 43 days in pretrial custody at the time of Wednesday’s court appearance. He noted that almost all of Yeo’s criminal record is alcohol related and for the first time in the occasions Ward had represented Yeo, the Huntsville man is acknowledging that he has a “significant alcohol problem,” adding that he wants to get help for his problem.
“Clearly this is a serious matter. He does not come to the court with a record of violence,” Ward stated.
However, Janzen noted that Yeo was found guilty in 2010 with assault with a weapon, a charge that netted him four months in custody.
Yeo, who read from a written statement, apologized for his actions, saying he does not intend to live his life this way forever.
“ I plan to rise above it … I know I can to where I want to be … I just have to work hard.”
Judge JD Evans chastised Yeo, saying that he invaded the home of innocent people and that the court has heard of his addiction to alcohol in the past.
“If you are back before this court with these kinds of offences again, you are looking at penitentiary time ... you’re the fellow messing up here.”
Judge Evans gave Yeo 17 months, along with time served, for the break and enter offence.
Yeo also received six months probation to run concurrently with his existing order, with the condition that he seek treatment for his alcohol addiction at a facility in the Algoma region.