June 18th, 2024

Arsonist gets eight months on multiple charges


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 29, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man who pleaded guilty late last year to 11 criminal charges, including arson and assault with a weapon, has been sentenced to slightly more than eight months in jail.
Lowe was sentenced Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court, nearly three months after he pleaded guilty to arson and assault, as well as theft under $5,000, mischief causing damage, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and multiple counts of failure to comply with release conditions. Lowe was not sentenced at the time of his guilty pleas in November, but the matter was adjourned to allow time for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
The arson charge stems from an incident last August when Lowe set fire to a rag and placed it by the fence around Spitz Stadium near Henderson Lake Park. A bystander stomped out the fire before it could cause any damage.
Lowe was arrested four days later, and during a search police found a knife and machete, even though previous release conditions prohibited him from possessing weapons.
Lowe was charged with two counts of assault with a weapon relating to two unrelated incidents.
On Jan. 23 of last year police received a 911 call, and recorded an assault in progress, in which a man can be heard yelling. Court was told Lowe had bitten a man’s thumb, struck him on the head with a rock, then threw the rock at a woman, hitting her in the face. Lowe also struck a vehicle driven by the woman. Both victims were cut during the assaults.
The second assault occurred on Aug. 13 when Lowe attacked an ex-girlfriend in her house. Lowe accused her of stealing from him, and punched and kicked her, and struck her with her purse, chipping one of her teeth.
When the woman tried to leave the house, he grabbed her, stopped her from leaving and continued the assault. She was finally able to flee and took refuge at the house of a neighbour – who heard the woman screaming – and waited for police. In the meantime, Lowe fled with his ex-girlfriend’s purse, but was apprehended the following day with the help of a police dog.
During an earlier incident at about 3:40 p.m. on May 30, 2020, Lowe threw a large rock or piece of concrete at a traffic camera on 5 Avenue and Mayor Magrath Drive South. Police found him later that night as he was weaving through traffic on his bicycle, but he took off when police told him to stop. He was arrested shortly afterward and found in possession of a folding knife, in contravention of a weapons prohibition. He was also out past his curfew.
Lowe was also charged with additional counts of failure to comply with release conditions. The first relates to an incident on Aug. 26 of 2020 when Lowe was drinking alcohol and walking on the train tracks between Coleman and Blairmore. An RCMP officer detained him for trespassing, and learned Lowe was on conditions to not be within 100 metres of CP Rail property. At the time Lowe was also carrying a hatchet, despite orders he not possess weapons.
The second incident occurred Nov. 14, 2020 at about 11 p.m. on 12 Avenue North. Lowe was riding his bike when he was supposed to be obeying a curfew. He was searched again, and found in possession of two pocket knives. He was also riding a newer bicycle he claimed was his, and told police he bought it from a “buddy” for $100, even though he didn’t know his friend’s name. The bike was seized as stolen property.
About two weeks earlier, a man reported to Coaldale RCMP that his motorcycle had been stolen, and the same day Lethbridge police received a complaint about a stolen bicycle.
Several days later a Lethbridge police officer saw Lowe in the parking lot of a northside storage facility. There was also a motorcycle parked in front of a pickup truck owned by an employee of the storage facility, and a BMX bicycle on the ground, partially under the driver’s side of the truck. The motorcycle and the bicycle matched the descriptions of those stolen earlier in the month.
The officer asked Lowe if he had seen anyone around the vehicles, and he said he hadn’t. There was a strong smell of gasoline, and there was gas on the ground and on the tank and seat of the motorcycle, and there was a juice container, which also smelled of gasoline, on the hood of the truck.
The owner of the truck told police Lowe told her he needed to get the motorcycle running, and that she had previously seen the motorbike in Lowe’s storage unit. She had also seen him riding the bicycle.
Lowe was charged with another count of failing to comply with release conditions after police stopped him while he was riding a bicycle on 5 Avenue North just before midnight on Dec. 22, 2020. At the time he was on release conditions to obey a curfew between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Court was told Thursday the Crown was initially seeking a one-year jail sentence, but after learning from the pre-sentence report that Lowe suffers from addictions and mental health issues, possibly including schizophrenia, rehabilitation became the focus of his sentence.
“I agree that rehabilitation is, really, priority,” said Judge Grace Auger.
Lowe was given credit for time already served in remand custody, which concludes the jail portion of his sentence, but he will be on probation for two years, during which he must, among other conditions, abstain from drugs and alcohol, live where approved by his probation officer, receive counselling and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, as well as psychiatric and psychological issues, domestic violence and life skills. He is also prohibited from possessing weapons and going within 50 metres of Spitz Stadium.

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