Whitehorse man who escaped courtroom avoids dangerous offender status

Yukon territorial court has given a man with more than 50 criminal convictions one last chance to make good on his promise to put an end to his violent criminal behaviour and deal with his personal issues.

Yukon territorial court has given a man with more than 50 criminal convictions one last chance to make good on his promise to put an end to his violent criminal behaviour and deal with his personal issues.

Richard Linklater was sentenced Feb. 6 to two years in prison for robbery and was designated a long-term offender, meaning he will be on probation for 10 years.

He had pleaded guilty to a slew of charges that mostly took place in September 2015, including robbery, failure to comply with a court order, fraud under $5,000, operating a vehicle while disqualified, and escaping lawful custody.

The robbery was the most violent of the charges. Linklater stole a purse from an elder who was smoking outside the Westmark hotel, dragging her to the ground in the process. During a bail hearing in late September 2015, Linklater bolted out of the courtroom. An RCMP officer pursued him, yelling at him to stop, but Linklater managed to escape, before being caught a month later.

With the latest robbery conviction, Linklater now has nine convictions for violent offences. In 2001 he choked a bookstore clerk during a robbery. In 2004 he tried to rob a grocery store with a hypodermic needle, before robbing a liquor store with a knife.

At the Whitehorse Correctional Centre several years later he set his cell on fire and assaulted a corrections officer. In 2008, acting as a drug enforcer, he gave a “significant” beating to a client owing money, Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair said. In 2012, he stole a vehicle, then proceeded to threaten the owner, who had contacted the police, with a machete.

Sinclair initially sought to have Linklater locked up indefinitely, referring to Linklater as a “career criminal.”

Sinclair was going for a dangerous offender designation — the most restrictive sentence a Canadian court can impose — but a report from a forensic psychiatrist found it was still possible for Linklater to rehabilitate himself in the community.

Both the prosecutor and Linklater’s lawyer presented the court with a joint submission for a long-term offender designation which allows for a long-term supervision order, and up to 10 years of probation.

Long-term supervision orders are for repeat offenders who can still be managed in the community with appropriate conditions.

The terms of the supervision order are stricter than probation. Linklater can be forced to undergo drug screening and the consequences for breaching conditions are more serious than in the case of probation violations.

For Linklater, a team comprised of the RCMP, an Aboriginal community liaison worker, two parole officers, an elder and a representative from a B.C. halfway house will work on a plan for his release.

The National Parole Board will decide whether to approve the plan.

It will most likely include some time in a halfway house in B.C., Sinclair said, and at least 25 counselling sessions.

After that, he will be back in the community but under conditions.

Linklater told the court he had gained a better understanding of his mental health issues and cognitive disability, and the fact he needed to address them. A report filed in court concluded Linklater exhibited signs of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

But Sinclair had no qualms telling Linklater what would happen to him were he to re-offend.

“If Mr. Linklater reoffends violently in the future the Crown (prosecutor) is going to have no choice but seek to have him jailed indeterminately,” he said.

It all comes down to Linklater’s substance abuse and whether he can stay off drugs.

“If he starts using them (again), things are going to go bad for him in a whole bunch of ways,” Sinclair said.

But Linklater also criticized the justice system during the sentencing hearing, asserting he wasn’t provided with appropriate treatment options to deal with his trauma and addictions issues.

Judge Heino Lilles expressed concerns about that comment, noting Linklater was shifting responsibility to the system.

“It’s not the way things work anywhere,” Lilles said. “(Linklater) is going to have to work aggressively to identify programming, services and support and bring them to him.”

In total Linklater was sentenced to two years and 120 days in jail. With the credit for time served, he has around four and a half months left to serve.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read