‘A person’s home is their castle’ – Judge Deck

Derek Draganiuk pleaded guilty to several charges during his May 8 appearance at the Alberta Provincial Court

Derek Draganiuk pleaded guilty to several charges during his May 8 appearance at the Alberta Provincial Court in Stettler, appearing in person after a long trip from Saskatchewan, where he is currently serving a two-year sentence in North Battleford on drug charges.

The Court heard that on Christmas eve, 2013, Draganiuk broke into a Stettler residence while a friend waited in a vehicle nearby. He broke in through the back door, stole prescription medication, and gave the medications to his friend.

Draganiuk was arrested later and confessed to his actions, including being out after curfew.

While out on bail awaiting his hearing in the break-and-enter, Draganiuk and his friend – with whom he was under orders to have no contact – entered a Wal-Mart and tried to return a cell phone not once, but several times over a few days’ time. Suspicious about the pair, Wal-Mart employees contacted the police and Draganiuk was arrested for breaking his conditions of not owning a cell phone and being in contact with his friend.

Draganiuk has a history of several previous convictions in Alberta alone, though not all were similar to the charges before the Court on May 8, the Court heard.

Draganiuk did not disagree with the Crown’s description of the matters.

Duty Counsel Mark Gottlieb represented Draganiuk, revealing to the court that the Grade 12 graduate had a well-paying job in the oil field industry and is a father to two children, six- and eight-years of age. Unfortunately, Draganiuk also suffers from addiction to crack cocaine, Gottlieb said, and suffers from bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia.

After hearing arguments from both the Crown prosecutor and defending counsel, Judge G.E. Deck contemplated on his sentence.

“A man or woman’s home is their castle,” Deck told Draganiuk and the court, “Which is why breaking into a residence is such a serious offence.”

On the break-and-enter charge, Deck sentenced Draganiuk to six months in jail, to be served consecutive to any current sentences, meaning this sentence will begin after he completes his two-year sentence in Saskatchewan.

For his breaches of conditions, of which there were two, Draganiuk was sentenced to 30 days each, but those two sentences could run concurrent to each other – but consecutive to the two-year and six-month sentences.

He was also ordered to provide a DNA sample for the national offenders’ database.

Deck also heard the case of Michael Holt, who pleaded guilty to theft and possession of stolen property.

The Court heard that on Nov. 10, 2013, Holt stole several purses and bags from the Salvation Army bin in the Wal-Mart parking lot. He was later found with the purses and a day-planner, as well as several expired passports not belonging to himself.

Holt claimed he had found the planner and the passports in the clothing bin, but admitted he had broken in and taken the items.

He was released on bail, but did not show to his next court appearance so a warrant was issued.

On Jan. 12, 2014, po­lice pulled over the vehi­cle Holt was driving, and on checking his licence discovered the warrant for Holt. He was taken into custody at that point.

The father of two is currently working in the oil industry, though at one point he owned and oper­ated his own restaurant in Red Deer, the court heard. Along the way, Holt developed a problem with crystal meth, a habit he’s been able to kick to the point where he’s been clean since November 2013, saving one relapse of two weeks.

Gottlieb told the court that at the time of the theft, Holt was homeless and desperate, and he un­derstands the gravity of stealing from a bin meant to help others suffering from bad times.

Deck sentenced Holt to 21 days, which he has already served, but placed the man on probation for a year, during which time he must abstain from con­suming, procuring, or owning alcohol, attending locations whose primary purpose is to serve alco­hol, attending gambling facilities, abstain from consuming, procuring or owning non-prescription drugs, and must take pre­scription drugs as pre­scribed.

In another case, Hen­ry Mappin also pleaded guilty to an impaired driv­ing charge stemming from a March 15 incident.

Mappin’s truck was ob­served weaving from lane to lane – and two drivers were all but forced off the road to avoid being struck – catching the attention of other drivers, who phoned police.

RCMP constable Cart­er Boytinck came to the rescue, pulling over the Volvo semi truck shortly after 8 p.m.

The Court heard that Mappin was interviewed on the roadside by the RCMP constable, who noted in his report that Mappin’s motor skills were “off,” his speech slurred, and that an odour of alcohol was present.

When asked if he had been drinking, Mappin confessed to having “a couple,” but then reached out and grabbed Const. Boytinck, saying “Son, you don’t have to do this. I’m a farmer.”

Mappin was taken into custody and taken to the Stettler detachment, where technicians tried to take a blood alcohol test. One of seven tests were completed successfully, due to Mappin’s diffi­cult behaviour, the court heard.

Mappin, when asked, confirmed the officer’s report.

The court heard from Mappin’s counsel, Dan­iel Wilson, who said that Mappin was aware of his problem with alcohol and hoped to enter into a program to help him deal with the issue.

It was revealed by the Crown prosecutor that Mappin has been arrested before for driving while under the influence of alcohol, most recently in Coronation in January 2012.

Eventually, Judge G.E. Deck decided to sentence Mappin to 30 days in jail, but allowed Mappin to serve the sentence inter­mittently, on the week­ends, so he could continue to work as a farmer.

Justin Schilling also appeared in court to an­swer to charges of driving under the influence and without insurance. He told the Court that he was not the one driving the vehicle at the time of the stop, nor was he in the ve­hicle – instead, someone had said he was Schil­ling. When he had learned of the charges, Schilling said he went to the RCMP to file a report, and that he knew who had pretended to be him.

Judge Deck ordered Schilling to report to the Stettler RCMP office and have the police contact the Crown to confirm the report.