Two men were sentenced to two years in federal prison November 12, after pleading guilty to charges related to what Crown counsel called a Hedley home invasion driven by vigilantism.
Shane Allison of Hedley, and Reid Bailey of Kamloops and formerly of Hedley, will be on probation for two years following their release from jail.
The crime unfolded Feb. 17, 2017, the court was told in an unchallenged submission of facts submitted by Crown attorney Andrew Vandersluys.
It occurred at a Daly Street residence, occupied by Alex Bernard and his partner Denise Reece.
“Two males forced their way into the residence. Mr. Bailey was carrying an axe and Mr. Allison had a shotgun,” said Vandersluys. “The allegation is that the shotgun was pointing into Mr. Bernard’s face. Mr. Bernard was pushed down on the ground. Reece pushed the gun away from Mr. Bernard. She screamed and ultimately the males ran out. They stated they will be back: ‘We will be back to kill you.’”
Vandersluys said the pair was acting out of anger, as both men believed someone in the home had sold drugs to a young girl, who then suffered an overdose.
“He (Allison) was angry and he wanted revenge.”
The address identified by the court is the same one that allegedly came under attack two weeks ago, when someone fired bullets at the house.
Another Hedley man faces charges in relation to that incident.
Bernard and Reece didn’t call police until three days following the 2017 assault, and first told RCMP they believed robbery was the motive for the invasion, said Vandersluys.
Both men have criminal histories.
Allison was previously convicted of break and enter, assault causing bodily harm, and uttering death threats.
Bailey’s record includes a conviction for breaking into a liquor store and several probation breaches.
Vandersluys said Allison and Bailey had consumed large amounts of alcohol before the attack.
He also stressed, while explaining his recommendation for a two-year sentence, that both defendants co-operated with police and without their initial statements it would have been difficult to put forth a case.
Allison and Bailey were represented by different lawyers.
Kate Lundman, representing Allison, noted he has two young daughters and was employed. He is a member of the Upper Similkameen Indian Band and supported by his community, she said.
“He wants to get out of jail as a changed man and be ready and able [to be a parent].”
Bailey’s attorney, Paul Varga, said his client suffers from anxiety, and months after the home invasion attempted suicide.
Lundman and Varga requested their clients be sent to a federal penitentiary, as opposed to a provincial jail, as those facilities offer more opportunities for rehabilitation and mental health care.
Lundman also indicated the federal system affords greater chances of early parole.
Provincial Court Judge Greg Koturbash expressed some reluctance in g ranting that request, but acceded to counsels’ wishes.
“It’s tough when you guys, so young, have a long life to live. Yet I’m sure your counsel has told you at the penitentiary it’s not going to be a gentle place. I hope that you do not make a lot of friends there and I hope that when you get out you will have turned your lives around.”
He stressed people cannot take the law into their own hands.
“The vigilantism … there really needs to be a strong message in the community that they need to leave these things in the hands of the police.”
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