Crackhead crook is thug, not victim
By TOM BRODBECK
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 Winnipeg.
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.
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.
Tom Brodbeck is the Sun's city columnist. He can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com.
Wow, I guess you can et away with almost anythign if you are a "victim"
Whats the penalty for an unregistered Machine gun in Canada?
I saw this documentary on street racing in Canada around christmas. It was histerical! They followed these 2 guys that were 'rivals' except they were about 30 years old. They would 'hangout' in front of places, usually in the parkin lot and challenge each other, but they're cars were civic hatchebacks and 2nd gen. RX7's. They said the one guy held the canadian speed record of 12. something in the 1/4
They would make jokes about each other, like they were 5. Then cops would show up to kick them off the property, and they'd complain and whine.
It was hilarious, grown men complaining to each others faces, racing civics.
It was like a bad joke.
10 years....., the same as an unregistered handgun (in theory)