Manitoba's highest court has slashed a prison sentence given to a man who stalked and terrorized a female neighbour for several months.
Ronald Dyck, 28, was convicted last year of two counts of breaking and entering with intent to commit theft and assault with a weapon. He was then sentenced to 47 months behind bars, in addition to 25 months of time already served, for what was a six-year penalty on paper.
Now the Manitoba Court of Appeal has rolled that punishment back by one year. They ruled Dyck should have received enhanced time-and-a-half credit of 37 months for his pretrial custody. They cited the fact Dyck had no prior criminal record, was on his best behaviour in custody following his arrest and is a good candidate for rehabilitation.
"The circumstances are very disturbing," the Court of Appeal wrote in their ruling.
Dyck, a resident of Steinbach, became obsessed with a 20-year-old woman who lived down the street. He broke into her empty home in June 2010, went through her bedroom and stole her underwear, wallet, purse and several pictures. Dyck then placed the stolen goods in an alley behind the woman's work and mailed the photos to her employer.
"By his deliberate and planned actions, the accused let the victim know that he not only knew where she and her family members lived, but also knew where she worked," the court wrote.
Dyck was not immediately identified as the culprit and remained free. In October 2010, the victim came home from work to find Dyck waiting inside her garage. He was armed with a knife, which he held to her throat and threatened to slit it if she screamed.
The woman managed to break free and run for help. Dyck was arrested. At his trial, Justice Doug Abra said the woman likely would have been sexually assaulted had she not been able to escape.
Dyck argued that wasn't his plan -- a position the Court of Appeal rejected.
"This is a finding of fact which the judge was entitled to make based on the evidence and which can only be overturned if there is palpable and overriding error. We find no such error," they wrote.
As a result, the high court denied Dyck's bid to reduce the overall six-year sentence to something far less. But they did agree Abra erred in originally only giving him single-time credit for the 25 months he spent in custody prior to his trial and sentencing.