Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2014
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2014 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Mike McIntyre
Page: B1


A Winnipeg woman tearfully begged a judge for a longer sentence
Thursday, saying she needs extensive help to get her troubled life
back on track.

Kayla Allen, 28, pleaded guilty to a residential break-and-enter that
occurred in 2008. She cut herself during the incident, leaving a trail
of blood behind that allowed police to submit for DNA analysis.

It took four years for the forensic lab in Regina to get the result
back to Winnipeg police, then another two years before investigators
finally got around to arresting Allen.

She has now been in custody since May and realizes the only way to
break a vicious cycle of addiction is for a lengthy stay behind bars,
which will allow her to get much-needed treatment and therapy, court
was told.

As a result, lawyers made a joint recommendation for a two-year
sentence to be served in a federal penitentiary, on top of time
already served. That 27-month total sentence is much longer than a
person would typically get for a single break-and-enter into an
unoccupied house that dates back six years.

"She put it to me, that this is 'my last chance to save my life,' "
defence lawyer Bruce Bonney told court.

Provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack expressed concern about the
length of the punishment but went along with the request after Allen
spoke candidly in court about the help she requires.

"I just want this sentence. I just want to find myself," she said in
tears. "When I get out, I want to go to a halfway house to get
reintegrated because I have nowhere to go."

Allen has no real family or friends in the community and is
"hopelessly addicted" to crack cocaine and crystal meth, court was
told. She has no memory of the 2008 crime, but can't dispute that she
committed it given her blood was all over the scene.

More than $2,500 in jewelry was stolen during the break-in and never
recovered. Allen assumes she likely pawned it for drugs but can't
recall doing so, her lawyer said. "It's an unusual case. There are
times judicial discretion is exercised in directions maybe not
anticipated," Pollack said in agreeing to the federal sentence. He
noted this case is not to be seen as a new benchmark for crimes of
this kind, but rather a unique set of circumstances.

Allen has only a minor prior criminal record from 2006 but has
otherwise stayed out of trouble, court was told. She will now get
access to long-term federal programming, which many justice officials
see as much more effective than what offenders given provincial
sentences of less than two years receive.
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