Citing his young age and difficult background as reasons to consider rehabilitation, Supreme Court Madam Justice Fisher handed down a sentence of time served for Xavier Kalalest.
Kalelest, 20, of Canoe Creek, sat quietly in the prisoner’s box Wednesday after he changed his plea to guilty on one count of theft of alcohol and the more serious charge of being masked while committing the theft, while a third count of being in possession of bear spray was stayed by Crown.
The charges stem from the evening of April 24, 2016 when Kalelest was caught on surveillance camera in the Fraser Inn Beer and Wine Store committing the theft while disguised by a mask. The store clerk was in the back at the time and no violence was used, the court heard.
Defence lawyer Alfred Kaiser and Crown counsel Julie Dufour reached the deal in the middle of what was expected to be a two-day trial in Williams Lake Supreme Court on the matter, and made a joint submission that Kalelest receive a 180-day jail sentence to be served concurrently on both charges.
“There is a rather alarming pattern of escalating behaviour,” Fisher said, after noting the joint submission “made sense.”
“You are a young man, with this sentence I encourage you to reverse the trend and turn your life around.”
The court heard that Kalelest likely suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome, was around alcohol as a young person and was in foster care for a time.
“It is thought that his mother drank alcohol while he was in utero,” said Kaiser.
“There are so many in our community who are not diagnosed or treated (for FAS). You can see the difficulty (Kalelest) faces because of the drinking.”
With that, however, the court also acknowledged Kalelest’s grandmother, who attended the first day of the trial, as a loving, very supportive person who raised Kalelest and is encouraging him to attend an alcohol treatment facility.
As well, Dorothy Boyd and Fanny Stump attended the proceedings in support of Kalelest.
“We love these children,” Stump said outside the courtroom of why they were in court. “We don’t want them to be forgotten. He has been in there too long.”
Kalelest has been in pre-trail custody 13 months since being charged in connection with a shooting incident on Western Ave. April 25, 2016 which shut down city schools and had police asking residents to stay indoors for their own safety.
In that case, a suspect shot several bullets into a home where a family was living, but had previously occupied by prolific offender Indi Johnny, who was killed in a shooting the month before.
The charge carries with it a minimum of five years in prison.