The Court Report: October 11 edition

by Keith Corcoran

Lunenburg County man arrested in alleged liquor store break-in.A 31 year old New Germany man is charged with breaking into the community's liquor store in late September. Chris Russell is also charged with property mischief and breaching an undertaking in connection to the same alleged offence, which police said occurred one night in late last month. Lunenburg district RCMP said a suspect smashed a window with a rock and entered the store and left with several bottles of alcohol. Police arrested Russell around 7 p.m., September 28 and recovered the stolen alcohol. Russell's case returns to court later this month as the matter proceeds through the legal system. Law enforcement announced the charges and arrest in a public statement October 3.

Drug allegations go to preliminary inquiry.A pair from Martins River will test drug allegations against them at a preliminary inquiry. The charges against Johnny Christopher Hatt, 45, and Mary Hatt, 46, stem from a three day search of a Lunenburg County property in early May that police allege yielded, among other things, the discovery of dozens of marijuana plants and pounds of processed and unprocessed marijuana. The Hatt's case goes to a preliminary inquiry in April of next year. Both elected to have their matters heard in Supreme Court by judge alone. They're each charged with possessing property obtained by crime, possessing methamphetamine and possessing marijuana, marijuana resin and shatter for the purposes of trafficking. Preliminary inquiries are held to determine whether or not there's enough evidence to warrant a trial. In a previous statement, RCMP said a nine hectare Wilbur Hill Rd. property was searched and the probe aided with the use of off-highway vehicles, a drone and an excavator. Law enforcement said two "sophisticated" marijuana grow operations were found during the search. Sixty mature marijuana plants and 110 pounds of processed and unprocessed marijuana was discovered, in addition to a "small amount of hash oil, 'shatter,' and methamphetamine pills." Cash and items common to trafficking of illegal drugs were also seized by police.

Drug charge nets conditional sentence. A provincial court judge handed a Bridgewater man a one year conditional sentence following his admission to a charge of possessing marijuana for the purpose of trafficking. Nicholas Ronald Wilneff, 30, is on house arrest for the first four months of the order, while having to adhere to a nightly curfew during the remaining time. Police, acting on a tip, found under 30 grams of marijuana after searching Wilneff's Dufferin Street apartment in Bridgewater in April 2016, court heard during his October 3 sentencing. Law enforcement also found pills, scales, a grinder, cell phones and $80 in cash. The judge also imposed a 10-year firearms prohibition and ordered items seized as part of the investigation forfeited to the Crown. The sentence was recommended to the judge by both Crown and defence lawyers. Wilneff's case was scheduled to go to trial on the day, but he changed his plea to one of the charges. The remaining allegations were dismissed following sentencing.

Two months jail for having break-in tools, stolen Christmas lights.A former Lunenburg County resident already serving federal prison time saw two more months added to his time behind bars after he admitting to possessing stolen Christmas lights and break-in instruments in relation to offences dating back to December 2015. Tyler Joseph Lannigan, 28, had a pry bar and bolt cutters concealed in a backpack and possessed stolen property at a time when the Bridgewater Police Service were investigating a report of three people breaking into vehicles along King Street. Lannigan was living in the Bridgewater area at the time. A western Canada resident, Lannigan is in custody serving a two year term and appeared in Bridgewater provincial court September 20 to answer to the local charges. Lannigan pleaded guilty to three charges, including breaching his probation. Allegations of theft and trespassing at night were withdrawn by the Crown following sentencing on September 21. A 22-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman, both from Lunenburg County, also faced charges related to the same incident. Police at the time said three people were seen entering vehicles along King Street between Jubilee Road and Phoenix Street. Police also said electronic devices and Christmas decorations were recovered. The teen was sentenced in January 2016 to a 90-day intermittent jail sentence after she admitted to uttering threats connected to the incident and other unrelated matters. The Crown eventually dropped all the charges against the other man.

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