July 20th, 2024

Cooking in vacant suite a recipe for arrest

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on October 14, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man caught inside a vacant basement suite was just trying to eat his lunch.

Police were called to the residence last January after a renter, who occupied the upper level of the southside home, heard someone in the stairwell who may have been trying to get into the lower residence.

While police were enroute, they received a second call that someone was inside the residence, had turned on a light and could be heard moving around.

Police met with the renter, as well as the landlord, and were told the bottom suite was vacant and no one was supposed to be in there.

When police entered the residence, they found Joshua Michael Hiott and arrested him.

Hiott was charged with housebreaking to commit theft, but this week in Lethbridge court of justice he pleaded guilty to the lesser but included offence of being unlawfully in a dwelling house.

“When officers went into the residence, he appeared to be cooking food,” said Crown Prosecutor Bob Morrison.

Hiott told police he understood why he was being arrested, but claimed “Danny let me in.”

No one knew who Danny was, but Hiott’s lawyer, Greg White, explained his client had earlier spoken with someone who indicated it was his residence.

“But it was somebody who objectively would not have had a residence, so he was willfully blind or reckless as to the mens rea (the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing) in relation to this offence,” White said. “And then the police come inside and he’s actually cooking macaroni and cheese.”

Morrison noted the door to the lower residence was likely unlocked because it did not appear to be damaged.

Hiott, who court was told already has a criminal record mostly comprising property and driving-related offences, was sentenced to one day in jail, deemed served by his appearance in court Thursday. Court was told, however, Hiott had already spent the equivalent of 68 days in remand custody.

He was also placed on probation for 12 months, during which he must behave himself, report to court when required, not have any contact with the upstairs renter, and stay away from the residence in the 1100 block of 27 Street South.

White noted that for the past two years Hiott has been trying to overcome a drug addiction and is currently doing well in a treatment program.

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Say What . . .

Of course Danny let him in! Absolutely Danny told me I could cook my KD here!
How many times have we heard similar responses?
–I didn’t steal the bike, I found it in the alley.
–I thought it was my Aunty’s car.
–Those are not my drugs in my pants pocket. I don’t know how they got there!
What a joke our judicial system is!


So 2.5 months in jail wasn’t enough punishment?