Month in jail for breaching conditional sentence 'no-alcohol' condition

Jailed over glass of wine

A local man will spend close to a month in jail after having a glass of wine to celebrate his recent engagement, breaching a condition of his conditional sentence order.

Brandon Matechuk was back in Kelowna court Thursday morning for sentencing, after he admitted last month to breaching the "no-alcohol" condition of his conditional sentence order.

Matechuk was before the courts last year when he was sentenced to a nine-month conditional sentence for pointing a shotgun at his neighbour and threatening him on the morning of March 22, 2019, over a dispute about the placement of garbage cans.

A conditional sentence is served outside of a jail, under a number of conditions. If the conditions are breached, the rest of the sentence, or a portion of it, could be served in custody.

As a result of his guilty plea in the matter, Matechuk was sentenced to three months of house arrest, followed by three months under a curfew, followed by three months without any restrictions around leaving his home. But one of the 15 conditions of the nine-month conditional sentence was to abstain from alcohol the entire time.

On the evening of May 6, six months after he was sentenced, Matechuk and his girlfriend were celebrating their engagement from the night before. Matetchuk's curfew condition had just expired.

He says he had a glass of wine with his now-fiancé to toast to their engagement, and he drove home just after 11 p.m.

On his way home to Vernon, Matechuk drove through an intersection just as the light turned red, and an RCMP officer pulled him over. Matechuk was instructed to take a breathalyzer, and he blew 0.037%. While this is under the legal limit for operating a vehicle, it breached his no-alcohol condition on his conditional sentence order and he was arrested.

“It's very serious that he breached the [conditional sentence order], it's for a very stupid reason. It is on the lower end of the spectrum relative to other possible breaches though,” Matechuk's defence lawyer Nicholas Jacob said Thursday.

“If I were the accused I would ask the court to possibly consider taking no action, considering that he spent a couple of days in jail and that his CSO has been extended by a month. But Mr. Matechuk has specifically instructed me to substantially agree with the Crown's position.”

As such, both Crown prosecutor David Ruse and Matechuk agreed to him spending an additional 27 days in jail, before he is once again released from custody on the conditional sentence order.

“I would just like to apologize, it was a stupid mistake and I shouldn't have done it,” Matechuk told Justice Gary Weatherill. “It's been incredibly stressful and I will definitely never do that again, I just want you to know that.”

Matechuk's fiancé, who was not involved in the 2019 incident, was in Kelowna court Thursday to support him.

Matechuk's original charges stemmed from a dispute with his neighbour near Kelowna's Richter Street and Birch Avenue that had been simmering for several weeks, until it came to a head on the morning of March 22, 2019. What occurred prior to the threat was of some dispute during sentencing, but Matechuk's girlfriend at the time said she had a “verbal exchange” with their neighbour after moving garbage cans from behind her car in the morning.

Crown prosecutor David Ruse said during sentencing last November that Matechuk's then-girlfriend claimed their neighbour “said words to the effect that he was going to bring his biker buddies over to deal with her.”

She called Matechuk “crying uncontrollably” and told him their neighbour had threatened her.

Matcechuk then knocked on the door of his neighbour, pointed a loaded shotgun at him and said: “I don't f*** around, I don't call the cops.”

The March 22, 2019 incident prompted a massive police response in the area and Matechuk was arrested. In addition to the shotgun, police also found an SKS rifle with five loose rounds in a bag and no trigger lock on the gun. Matechuk did not have a firearms licence at the time.

“To me it wasn't about garbage cans, it was about trying to be safe at home,” Matechuck told Justice Weatherill back in November. “I just went about it the wrong way."

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