Pubdate: Sat, 18 Mar 2006
Source: Winnipeg Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2006 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Tom Brodbeck
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


I don't know what's happened to our justice system when the penalty
for committing 15 - count 'em, 15 - robberies for a repeat offender is
two years in prison.

That's what happened to Cory Dyck, 33, who robbed 15 convenience
stores and gas bars in Winnipeg over a three-month period last year.

He wore a disguise during the robberies, which is also a Criminal Code
offence. And he was armed with a weightlifting bar.

He terrorized the lives of the store and gas bar clerks, many of whom
were women. And he went back to some of the same retail outlets more
than once.

And he did it 15 times. That's 15 counts of robbery. And 15 counts of
wearing a disguise.

At the time, he was facing another charge for stealing $1,900 in 2004
while he worked at a car dealership.

Prior to that, he was convicted of attempted fraud and got a
conditional discharge.

But somehow, the guy is painted as a victim.

You see, Dyck was a "victim" of a crack cocaine addiction. Apparently,
through no fault of his own, he became addicted to the powerful drug,
which turned him into an evil person who robbed gas bars to fuel his
horrible vice.

Or at least that's how the court saw it this past week in

What garbage.

It's beyond me how the criminal becomes the victim here. Dyck breaks
the law repeatedly over several years, terrorizes innocent victims,
takes money from innocent business owners and we're supposed to feel
sorry for him?

The Crown prosecutor in the case, Steven Johnston, asked for 47 months
in prison - nearly four years - which is on the low end of the
sentencing spectrum for 15 counts of robbery if you ask me.

But the judge, Judith Elliot, didn't even accept that.

And for that, she is the latest winner of this column's Eight-Ball
Award, given out to highlight some of the worst perversions of justice
in our court system.

Judge Elliot agreed the number of crimes committed by Dyck were
"troublesome" and that they warranted "penitentiary time" - two years
or more in a federal prison.

But instead of imposing a stiff prison term to send a strong message
to the community that this kind of criminal behaviour will not be
tolerated, Elliot gave him a paltry two years in prison.

Which means he'll be eligible for full parole in eight months - just
in time for Christmas. How nice.

"Although the number of charges are troublesome, I think Mr. Dyck has
a better than normal chance of coming out and being a productive
citizen," Elliot said.

And therein lies the problem. Judges are too often giving short shrift
to the sentencing principles of deterrence and denunciation in favour
of rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender.

The focus these days is almost entirely on how to make it easier for
the criminal.

Never mind the victims.

But perhaps even more important than that is the message Judge Elliot
sent to the community.

The message is this: If you get hooked on crack and start stealing and
robbing stores and gas bars with a weapon, we'll cut you some slack.
We'll go easy on you because, to some degree, you're a victim. You're
a victim of an addiction and you shouldn't be held too responsible for

That's what these judges have to realize when they're handing down
these ridiculous sentences.

They're telling people that to some degree, they shouldn't be held
responsible for their actions if there are "mitigating circumstances"
like a crack addiction.

It's irresponsible and it's reckless. 
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