Man gets two years for 2007 break-in, theft

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PICTOU – Shane Michael Brannon left the galley of Supreme Court Wednesday to follow sheriffs to the cell area of the Pictou Justice Centre after being sentenced to two years in federal prison for a break and enter he committed six years ago. 

Brannon pleaded guilty to a break, enter and theft into a home in Piedmont Valley in 2007 which involved the theft of many household items including a DVD player, camera, drill, table saw and firearms.

In a statement of facts, the court was told that the owner discovered her home was broken into around suppertime on Nov. 30, 2007, and that entry was gained through an unlocked door in the back of the house.

Brannon had pleaded not guilty to the charge in 2012 and elected trial in Supreme Court, but he changed his plea to guilty in October. He has a previous break-and-enter conviction for which he was served federal time and this charge from 2007 was laid after he was released from jail.

His lawyer Stephen Robertson said since Brannon has been out prison, he has followed the conditions of his parole, obtained employment and is raising a young family.

He argued his client is a good candidate for a conditional sentence since he has taken positive steps to turn his life around.

“This young man has leading a stable life and has learned his lesson the first time and it doesn’t need to be taught to him,” he said.

He said a conditional sentence order with house arrest and a fine would let Brannon know the seriousness of his crime, but also allow him to continue his rehabilitation.

“Putting him back in jail would be a step backwards,” he said. “Since 2007 and 2009, he has really changed because he has a fear of going back into that life of living in jail with out his family.”

Crown attorney Patrick Young acknowledged Brannon has taken positive steps, but he said a message of deterrence and denunciation cannot be sent to the public with a conditional sentence.

Young said break-and-enter is one of the most serious offences in the Criminal Code and a conviction can net a lengthy prison sentence. He asked Justice Nick Scaravelli to consider a sentence of up to three years for Brannon.

“He broke into someone’s home and comprehensively stole everything from family albums to firearms,” he said. “The court not only needs to send a message to him, but that general deterrence is even more important. The Crown sympathizes that he turned his life around, but you can’t get a free pass with this. A CSO is a free pass to enjoy a prison sentence on his couch with his family during the holidays while the victim will never forget that day.”

Young said the crimes traumatized the victims, forcing them to leave their home and move to a new location.

“They had to get a security system and a dog, but they eventually moved out because they couldn’t stay there knowing what happened,” he said.

He also added that the firearms stolen were never recovered and probably sold illegally making them impossible to trace.

In his own address to the court, Brannon echoed Robertson’s statements, saying that he has been living life on the straight and narrow since his release from prison.  

“I have to say I have learned my lesson about stealing stuff that is not mine,” he said. “It’s not right and it ruins people’s lives, mine and theirs. I have been rehabilitated and I am going to try my best to stay out of trouble because I know what I did was wrong and I have not done it since.”

Scaravelli acknowledged Brannon was only 24 at the time of the crime and his first offence as an adult. He had one prior criminal conviction as a youth. He said it also weighed in Brannon’s favour that he was currently employed and entered an early guilty plea, but the court could overlook that this was a planned break-in committed for profit.

“Crimes such as this violate the sanctity of the home and its occupants,” he said. “Items were stolen from various rooms and levels of the home, a vehicle was backed up to a shed and a table saw was removed.”

Scaravelli agreed with the Crown that a penitentiary sentence was needed to send a message of deterrence. 

Organizations: Supreme Court

Geographic location: Piedmont Valley

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