A 20-year-old Dartmouth man who pleaded guilty to several charges in relation to two dramatic abduction attempts was sentenced to 5.5 years minus time served in Halifax provincial court Friday.
The sentence was a joint recommendation between the Crown and defence. Aaron Patrick MacDonald has already spent 488 days in custody.
MacDonald pleaded guilty to two charges of breaking and entering, one charge of wearing a mask while committing an indictable offence and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
The charges against MacDonald stem from two incidents in October 2012 at the home of Brag Langille on Oakland Road in Halifax's south end.
Halifax Regional Police said on Oct. 16, 2012, a masked man broke into the house and tried to abduct the homeowner. The homeowner was able to get the suspect out of the house and call police.
Officers searched the neighbourhood but could not find a suspect.
Several days later, the homeowner's security team — who had been hired after the first incident — found a man inside the same home. He was carrying an imitation assault rifle.
The guards subdued the suspect and called police.
MacDonald was responsible for both abduction attempts. He underwent psychiatric treatment and assessment after his arrest and was determined to be mentally fit to stand trial.
On Friday, the court heard victim impact statements from Langille and his wife. He said fleeing from MacDonald armed with a fake gun was terrifying and has been the source of countless nightmares.
MacDonald told the court he is ashamed and regrets what he has done. He apologized to the Langille family and accepted responsibility for his actions.
Crown prosecutor Rick Woodburn said the sentence is appropriate.
“It’s an appropriate outcome, given the seriousness of the offences themselves and the chance of rehabilitation for this particular individual. You have to look at the fact that the family themselves have been worried about whether or not he will re-commit those offences … so hopefully we’ve managed to put together a plan to keep him away from the victims while rehabilitating him at the same time,” he said.
MacDonald's lawyer, David Bright, said his client's background was an important factor in sentencing.
“It seemed to be sort of in the middle of the range, if you will, of what might be given,” he said.
“Sentencing is a very individual process and the courts want to know as much as they can about an offender before they pass sentence.”