A man who broke into two homes on Hamilton Avenue in the capital city, assaulting one of the homeowners, has been sentenced to more than five years in jail.
Carl Geary — who has lived in various places around the province, including St. John's — was given a prison term of five years and eight months today in provincial court.
Judge Colin Flynn gave Geary time and half credit for the 155 days he's already spent in custody, leaving five years and a week left on his term.
The 52-year-old was convicted of two counts of break and enter — one with intent and the other with theft — possession of stolen property, assault and four counts of breaching court orders.
The first break-in happened Sept. 26, 2011, when Geary smashed the window of the front door to get into the house. The homeowner, who was home at the time, caught Geary who ran off empty-handed.
Geary was arrested a short time later and released from jail on conditions.
The second break-in was more serious.
On April 5 of this year, after breaking into a house not far from the first one, Geary was spotted by the homeowner who was pulling into the driveway when she saw him.
Geary had a bag full of her things, including scuba gear and liquor. She tried to stop him by grabbing the bag, but Geary struggled and pushed her. The woman screamed for help, drawing the attention of two drivers, including a cabbie, who were passing by. The drivers saw what was going on, stopped, grabbed Geary and subdued him until police arrived.
He's been in custody ever since.
Crown prosecutor Jeff Summers had requested a sentence of between eight and 10 years, pointing to Geary's lengthy criminal record, which dates back to 1995 and includes previous convictions for break-ins and thefts.
Defence lawyer Amanda Barfitt had said a four-year jail term was more appropriate.
In making his final decision on sentencing, Flynn pointed to the accumulation and seriousness of Geary's crimes.
"His record shows a complete disregard for other people's property …," the judge said.
"It appears to me, he's spent most of his time in the last 17 years in jail. When he's released, it's not long before he's back to breaking the law.
"It's a sad commentary on a life that's really, essentially, been wasted."