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A P.E.I. man who went into the porch of a home in Orwell without permission and grabbed a bag of tools that was left outside avoided jail time recently with four months of house arrest.
Ryan Scott Collings, 40, appeared before Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court in Charlottetown for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to interfering with lawful use of a property.
Crown attorney Nathan Beck told the court that on Sept. 24, Collings went to a home in Orwell where a neighbour saw him go in the front porch.
Collings then went around to the back of the house before coming back with a bag of tools.
Beck said the neighbour confronted Collings who left without the bag.
The court heard Collings later returned and talked to the neighbour who thought he seemed impaired.
Collings was initially charged with a break and enter but pleaded guilty to a lesser offence.
He had a prior criminal record and Beck recommended a jail sentence in the range of 30 to 45 days.
Defence lawyer Justin Milne said that the morning of the offence, Collings was under the influence of several substances.
“That morning he was not in a good state,” Milne said.
Milne said Collings didn’t set out that day to violate anyone’s privacy, adding that he gave the neighbour his name and cooperated with police.
“A break and enter artist he is not,” Milne said.
The court heard Collings was laid off because of the offence and was afraid to take other work because of the pending sentencing.
Milne also said Collings’ partner relies on him because of her medical conditions.
Collings asked to not be sent to jail and he showed the risk of his reoffending was low, Milne said.
The house arrest was part of a conditional sentence that Orr said was only possible because Collings had a significant period of sobriety.
During the conditional sentence, Collings is banned from drinking alcohol or using any mind-altering substances unless they are prescribed to him.
He is also banned from possessing alcohol or drugs and he can’t attend at any businesses that sell them.
Ryan Ross is The Guardian's justice reporter