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Digest of the Week - "Stanley Cup rioter sentenced"

2013 CarswellBC 610
 R. v. J. (A.)
British Columbia Provincial Court
Judgment: January 30, 2013

Criminal law | Offences | Unlawful assembly and riots | Sentencing | Youth offenders

Seventeen-year-old accused youth offender (accused) arrived in downtown core of Vancouver few hours before June 2011 Stanley Cup riot began, wearing light blue t-shirt with white writing on front, knee-length green camouflage-patterned shorts, yellow baseball cap, diamond stud in ear, and "Canucks" printed in black capital letters across forehead — After riot spread from core area to surrounding businesses, looters broke through windows and steel gates of drugstore while employees watched in fear from closed-circuit television in small, windowless security room in basement — Drug store suffered damages and lost merchandise worth $895,782.69 — Accused denied involvement when asked by family, but accused's picture as suspected rioter was brought to his mother's attention at work — After photo from video of suspect leaving London Drugs with stolen merchandise on night of riot was posted on Vancouver Police Department's website, police received eleven tips identifying accused as suspect in video — Accused turned himself in, confessed, and apologized for actions — Accused was arrested and pleaded guilty to participating in riot under s. 65 of Criminal Code of Canada — Hearing was held to determine sentence — Eighteen-month probationary sentence proposed by Crown was appropriate and measured response to accused's offending behavior — Sentence was to include conditions that accused keep peace and be of good behavior, report to youth worker, reside at home and obey rules, attend school as directed by youth worker, not enter downtown Vancouver without youth worker's permission, not drink or using non-prescription drugs, not attend drugstore, not possess weapons, complete 100 hours of community work service within 60 days, and deliver letter of apology to drugstore — It was important for accused's rehabilitation and reintegration that sentence provide meaningful consequences for offence — Neither accused's drinking nor low value of items were mitigating circumstances — Mitigating factors included accused's early guilty plea, expression of remorse, positive pre-sentence report, and positive steps taken since participation in riot — Aggravating factors included scope and scale of riot as whole, fact that thefts were not spur of moment activity, multiple entries into store, and accused's conscious decision to remain downtown after riot began — Applicable elements to consider in youth offender rioting cases were offender's degree of participation, context of riot generally, impact on victims, offender's personal circumstances, principles of sentencing in YCJA, and BC riot-related cases involving youths.

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