Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Man receives maximum youth sentence but will serve time in adult jail

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A Winnipeg man who drove a killer to a violent attempted robbery near the Northgate Shopping Centre has been spared an adult sentence — but not a stint in adult jail.

The man, 21, was handed the maximum-available youth sentence of two years in jail followed by a year of community supervision this morning for conspiracy to commit robbery with a firearm.

He was 17 at the time and charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

"You and your cohorts exposed the community to probably the most serious risk," Judge Carena Roller told him.

The offender and others set up a plan to rip off a group of drug dealers by phoning them and arranging a meet on April 4, 2010.

The victims drove to the meeting spot at the mall only to see masked bandits waiting for them and sped off.

A co-accused took off on foot after the victims after the offender left to go get the vehicle they drove to the scene in. The co-accused hopped a fence and started firing a .22-calibre handgun.

One bullet sailed through the driver's side window, only narrowly missing the driver of the fleeing vehicle who was ducking down, said Baragar.

The Crown withdrew its bid to see the offender sentenced as an adult in the case after he agreed he wouldn't request a sentence lower than the youth maximum.

He admits being part of the robbery plot but claims he had no knowledge of any gun or that one would be used.

"We're prepared to give (him) a break," prosecutor Susan Baragar said.

Because of his age, he will serve his jail time in an adult facility.

Roller was told while free on "extremely strict" bail he became one of just about 100 young offenders each year that makes it through Manitoba's Youth Bail Management program without any breaches of conditions.

Youth Bail Management is the most stringent form of pre-trial supervision accused young persons can get in Manitoba.

The son of a federal prison employee, he's also made great strides to get into university and has been working. A probation officer described him as an "absolute pleasure to work with."

"I think that time has shown he can, in fact, absolutely make positive choices," defence lawyer Nolan Boucher said.

What the offender and his co-accused didn't realize is that police learned of their robbery plot through wiretaps they'd obtained in connection with a homicide investigation.

Winnipeg police had been conducting "Operation Greenlight," hoping to shake evidence loose in the brutal killing of Frank Green Jr. on Sept. 11, 2009.

The 17-year-old was chased by a group of gang-involved teens into the St. Boniface Cemetery where he was viciously stabbed and beaten.

One of his killers was the teen who produced and fired the gun in the April 2010 drug-related robbery.

Now 22, he pleaded guilty for his key role in the shooting in February and saw four years tacked on to the seven-year sentence he's serving for Green Jr.'s murder.

Arrests in Green Jr.'s killing came just a few days after the attempted drug robbery. The offender being sentenced this morning was not implicated in the homicide.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 4:27 PM CDT: Clarifies number of offenders on tough bail conditions and actions of co-accused.

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