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Probation for man who broke into South Shuswap home when in need of mental health support

Salmon Arm man pleaded guity in Kamloops court to a lesser charge of being unlawfully in a dwelling
Salmon Arm man given second chance after not receiving the care he needed for mental health. (File photo)

Kamloops This Week

A Salmon Arm man with mental health issues who broke into a house after reportedly being dropped off at a convenience store by police, rather than admitted to hospital, has been given a second chance.

Aaron Lamb, 24, was given a conditional discharge and 12-months’ probation in Kamloops provincial court last week after pleading guilty in connection with a break-in at an elderly Sorrento woman’s home.

Lamb pleaded to the lesser charge of being unlawfully in a dwelling – down from the charge of break and enter. He had also been charged with mischief, uttering threats and resisting arrest, but those were stayed following the guilty plea.

Court heard that back on May 13, 2021 about 4:30 a.m., the 83-year-old homeowner, who lives alone, called 911 after awakening to the sound of glass breaking.

She spotted someone exiting her garage and heading toward Highway 1 with property from her home.

Police responded and found Lamb, who ignored their commands to stop, fleeing into a nearby motorhome in an attempt to drive it, Crown prosecutor Alex Janse told the court. Lamb also threw a box at police and was arrested after a short foot pursuit, she said.

Read more: Shouting it out loud: You can’t wish away addiction and mental illness

Lamb has a history of mental illness but had been managing his condition well up until a few years ago, Janse said. On the evening in question, Lamb’s mother called police for assistance, as Lamb, who lives with his parents in Salmon Arm, was causing trouble in the home. Janse said police were to take Lamb to the hospital under the Mental Health Act.

Janse said while she hasn’t confirmed it, police took Lamb to Sorrento at his request and dropped him off at a convenience store in the middle of the night.

She said Lamb, in the middle of a mental health crisis and with no mode of transportation, made the decision to enter the 83-year-old woman’s home.

Janse said the homeowner has conveyed to her that, more than anything, she just wants Lamb to receive the help he needs.

In a joint submission with defence counsel, Lamb, a college student who has no criminal record, will be on conditions that he attend mental health and substance abuse treatment, refrain from using drugs and alcohol and have no contact with the elderly homeowner or the owner of the motorhome.

Janse added she hopes the conditions will open up opportunities to get Lamb the assistance he needs through the probation service, noting his mother advised she’s struggled to get him help within the community.

Lamb apologized for his actions in court.

“I realize what I’ve done has impacted people beyond me,” Lamb said via video conference, adding he’s grateful for the plea offer he received.

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