UPDATED July 13
A man responsible for an armed robbery last October, plus a string of thefts and credit card frauds, was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday.
Shannon Stein, 42, asked territorial court judge Donald Luther for a three-year sentence plus three years on probation.
The Crown was seeking seven years.
But the lighter sentence isn’t available to Stein anymore, Luther ruled yesterday.
His lengthy criminal record shows no break between getting released and re-offending.
The armed robbery was also his first violent offence, which is troubling, the judge noted.
And while the seven-year sentence is higher than what the defence was seeking, it’s far from the 38-year maximum allowed by the criminal code.
Stein pleaded guilty on Monday to five counts of theft and one count of possession of property obtained by crime. That’s on top of his conviction last week for armed robbery, which included two counts of assault causing bodily harm, one count of theft and one count of illegally being in a dwelling.
Last October, Stein conned a man into giving him his credit card to buy him discounted cigarettes at the Superstore gas bar, telling him he worked for the store.
Stein took off and spent a little under $2,000 on the credit card.
Then Stein and his partner at the time, Janine Firth, unsuccessfully tried to rob Donald Lajoie at the Stratford Hotel. Firth used bear spray on the man.
Two days later, Stein and Firth smashed a car window at Walmart and stole a purse and a wallet containing $140 and US$500.
On Oct. 28, Stein stole a Galaxy tablet from the Whitehorse General Hospital triage area. The tablet used for patient feedback was worth about $350.
The next day, he approached two men outside Murdoch’s Gem Shop on Main Street in Whitehorse, telling them he could get them discount cigarettes. He took off with $120 the men gave him after having left them his jacket as collateral.
Whitehorse RCMP arrested Stein and Firth two weeks after the string of crimes began.
There are very few mitigating factors in this case, the judge said.
Stein spent much of last week’s trial downplaying his role in the robbery, Luther said.
“The court does not accept that Firth was the leader in this criminal duo,” he said.
While Stein told court he took full responsibility for his actions, Luther remained skeptical.
“What else is he going to say when he is facing a long term of imprisonment?” he said.
Luther reviewed previous cases, noting that many featured offenders “considerably younger” than Stein.
The armed robbery was a violent crime, the judge said. The victim, Lajoie, is a 60-year-old man on disability. Stein grabbed him by the neck and broke his glasses during the robbery.
One of the two men he scammed outside of Murdoch’s was an older man, targeted because of his age, the judge said.
Stein told the judge he stole credit cards to feed his drug habit. He told court he started using heroin and cocaine at a young age.
Stein said he rationalized his crimes by telling himself those were victimless crimes – people usually got reimbursed by their banks.
He had asked for a three-year sentence, which would have allowed him to be out after less than two years when taking pre-trial custody into account. His mother is sick and might need a kidney transplant soon, he said.
Looking at each incident separately, Luther said he wanted to sentence Stein to 10 years behind bars.
But the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that courts must ensure the cumulative effect of a sentence doesn’t result in a punishment unduly harsh or disproportionate.
“Ten years is excessive, it wouldn’t stand on appeal,” Luther said.
He reduced it to a seven-year sentence. Stein got a little over one year in credit for time spent at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre while awaiting his trial.
He’ll serve the remaining, unless he gets early release, at a federal institution in B.C.
He will be prohibited from possessing weapons his entire life.
“You have to stop it, it’s as simple as that,” Luther said, addressing the man directly. “The sentences will only increase.”
Lack of kosher food at WCC
Stein asked the judge to take into the account the fact he wasn’t able to get kosher food for about five months while at WCC.
The Department of Justice doesn’t comment on individual cases but spokesperson Dan Cable told the News WCC accommodates special or religious dietary needs.
“Some religious dietary needs are not able to be prepared at WCC and must be ordered in due to the fact that staff and inmates who prepare food at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre may not be able to provide specialized religious dietary requirements,” Cable said in an email.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org