Saint John – Two teenage boys appeared in youth court in Saint John Wednesday in connection with the trashing of the Church of Christ in St. George last November, and have entered not guilty pleas.
The teens, a 15-year-old from Chance Harbour, and a Beaver Harbour youth who is now 18 but was 17 at the time of the alleged offence, are both charged with breaking into the church located at 71 Carleton Street Nov. 22, and committing an indictable offence.
Both plan to apply for legal aid, said duty counsel John King, and Judge Kelly Winchester said they are to return to court at 9:30 a.m. April 4 with a lawyer, when a trial date will be set.
The break-in was discovered by Rev. David Haddon when he went into the church Nov. 25 to turn on the heat for the Sunday service. He found the church completely trashed, with broken glass everywhere and the piano completely destroyed.
The French doors had been smashed, plants thrown about, the legs removed from a table in the foyer and used to smash things, a heater had been thrown through the French doors at the front of the church, thermostats and wires had been ripped off the walls, screens had been ripped off windows and bent, twisted and stomped on, and a fire had been started in Haddon’s office.
While there were no services for a few weeks until the debris had been cleaned up, and some repairs carried out, Haddon and his wife Allyson, who were in court Wednesday, said they have been holding services in the foyer. They also said they had received numerous offers to replace the damaged piano.
The Beaver Harbour teen also pled guilty to a separate charge of mischief in connection with an incident which took place in Beaver Harbour Sept. 6, when he emptied a can of paint on a truck.
Crown prosecutor Elaina Campbell said this was a serious offence, and had the victim not been able to clean off the paint, it would have been expensive to remove.
King said he understood this to be an older truck, but it was important to the person who owned it, while the teen described it as a piece of junk.
Questioned by Winchester, the teen said he had stopped going to school a couple of weeks ago, and she told him that young people who don’t go to school usually end up in court because they get into trouble. Asked what he did in his spare time, he relied “not much”, and she told him idle hands get into trouble.
Winchester said she had read the pre-sentence report and the teen had no prior record so she was placing him on 12 months of supervised probation with conditions which include participating in school or an alternative education program if accepted. She also ordered him to perform 10 hours of community service.