Courthouse in Nanaimo (News Bulletin file)

Woman who was chased and tackled after break-in sentenced on Vancouver Island

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

A woman who broke into a Nanaimo home, stole a backpack and was subsequently chased and tackled by a resident last December, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail today.

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was charged with break-and-enter, committing an indictable offence and assault with a weapon for a Dec. 4 incident in Harewood.

She committed a breach of bail conditions in January when she left Spiritual Quest Wellness Society in Chilliwack for women recovering for substance abuse. Ken Paziuk, Crown counsel, sought a sentence of six months in jail.

Paziuk and Cheyene Hodson, defence counsel, entered a joint submission to Judge Brian Harvey in provincial court in Nanaimo on Wednesday. Harris, appearing by video, pleaded guilty to the break-and-enter, the breach and to a lesser charge of simple assault. Harvey sentenced her to 180 days for the break-and-enter charge, 30 days for the simple assault charge and seven days for the breach, to be served concurrently. However, Harris has been incarcerated for 124 actual days and with time-and-a-half credit, has served her time and will be released from Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge today.

Harris broke into the Harewood residence and made off with a backpack, which contained a laptop, but was spotted by the residents Joe Squire and Ashley Stevenson. The two subsequently chased Harris down and when Stevenson caught up with Harris, she knocked her down and leaped on her. In the ensuing altercation, Stevenson was hit on the head with a rock and sustained bruises. It was revealed during sentencing that Stevenson knew Harris casually, on a first-name basis.

Hodson told the court that Harris is a member of Stz’uminus First Nation and was raised by her grandparents. She was addicted to opiates and witnessed family members abusing alcohol. He also pointed to Harris’s limited criminal record.

Harris will be subject to conditions upon her release. She will be on probation for one year and during that time, she will be forbidden from having any contact with the Squire and Stevenson.

A preliminary inquiry on the matter had been scheduled for May 1, but was cancelled.

– with files from Chris Bush


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