PICTOU – An 18-year-old Pictou man has been sentenced to 36 months in custody for his part in a robbery and a home invasion – two separate incidents three months apart.
The man, who was 17 at the time of the offences and cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was sentenced in Pictou provincial court Wednesday to two years of secure supervision followed by an additional year of community supervision.
He faced an array of charges in connection with a robbery at the East End Grocery store in October 2012 as well as a home invasion and assault at a Pictou apartment in January 13.
Judge Del Atwood said during the afternoon sentencing that it was the maximum allowable sentence that could be handed to the man who needed to be in a “long-term, controlled environment” to take advantage of rehabilitative programs.
Crown attorney Bill Gorman told the court that the man and two other youths from Pictou had planned to rob a convenience store on Oct. 12, 2012 for money.
The teen entered East End Grocery with a butcher knife in his hand while wearing a pair of sunglasses and a black hoodie over his head.
He said the man, with the butcher knife in hand, immediately jumped over the counter and demanded the clerk open the cash register. A second youth attempted to empty coins into a backpack and the two fled the store. A third youth was waiting in a car outside.
Using the RCMP’s canine unit, police quickly located the car and two of the youths. Police estimated they got away with less than $100 in cash. The accused was arrested a short time later and released into the custody of his mother following a brief court appearance three days after the robbery.
He was still under the court order to keep the peace and be of good behaviour when he and two other youths charged into a Pictou apartment on Jan. 13 to settle a score for a friend, said Gorman.
The Crown said the man and another youth, wearing Sobeys bags over their heads with eye holes cut out to see through, entered the apartment without permission and the man assaulted two of four men inside.
“The seriousness of the offences can’t be underscored,” said Gorman. “While on an undertaking, he rolls into someone else’s home, masked, and assaults someone.”
In relation to both incidents, the man entered guilty pleas at early stages to all charges. The charges included robbery with violence, two counts of breach of probation, possession of a weapon, breach of an undertaking, uttering threats, break and enter, two counts of assault and one count of wearing a disguise with intent.
He completed both a pre-sentence report and a psychological evaluation that stated he has impulse issues and substance abuse problems. However, defence lawyer Ed Patterson argued his client has a much different side than that presented in court.
“He accepts responsibility and has expressed remorse,” he told the court. “He understands he has impulse issues and he may have some abandonment issues. He is determined to rehabilitate himself and take advantage of programs. He has bought into this notion of rehabilitation.”
Patterson argued that although the psychologist stated his client has been identified as a high risk to re-offend, it also states he could benefit from rehabilitative programs.
“I don’t think he deserves to have the book thrown at him so to speak,” he said. “He wants to take all the programs available to him.”
The man, visibly shaken during the sentencing, told the judge he knows it is time to change his ways.
“I had plenty of chances here,” he said. “I am going to change my life.”