A judge has denied bail for a Winnipeg teen arrested after a violent liquor store robbery that sent one employee to hospital in critical condition, ruling that releasing him would shake the public’s confidence in the justice system.
"The event began as a group robbery of a liquor store and culminated with continued, unprovoked, persistent violence to anyone who crossed the accused’s path," said provincial court Judge Victoria Cornick. "It is only good fortune that injuries were not more serious."
Sitting in the prisoner’s box, the 15-year-old male appeared sombre throughout the 45-minute bail hearing on Friday. He showed no visible disappointment after learning Cornick’s decision.
Crown attorney David Burland detailed the mayhem that ensued when a teen stormed into the Tyndall Market mall Liquor Mart with two co-accused shortly before 4 p.m., Nov. 20.
The three males, at least one of whom was armed with a knife, yelled at staff not to look at their faces as they snatched bottles of liquor and ran to the exit, Burland said.
The accused, Burland said, "without reason" shoved one female staff member "as hard as he could" and punched her in the head.
"She retreated to a nearby office to avoid being assaulted further," Burland said.
The accused then threatened to stab another staff member, Randi-Lee Chase, and demanded money from a cash register.
"He rounded the counter and punched her once in the head," Burland said. "There was no chance for her to defend herself."
Security footage of the robbery played for the court showed Chase unconscious on the floor. She suffered a prolonged seizure after the assault. She was taken to hospital in critical condition and had a fractured jaw.
The accused grappled with a male staff member before a co-accused threatened the man with a bottle and they fled the store through the mall.
Separated from his cohorts, the 15-year-old is accused of threatening to stab two women at a travel store and demanded money. The teen, Burland said, assaulted one of the women before running out of the mall and threatening a teen who was sitting in his mother’s Chevy Silverado. After failing to gain entry into the vehicle, he tried to rob two women of their purses before a mall employee tackled him to the ground and held him for police.
"This was a planned robbery, however it just kept getting worse and worse because of (the accused’s) actions," Burland said. "This is an overwhelmingly strong case in so many ways. Every incident is on video."
Defence lawyer Matthew Munce argued the teen could be safely released to the custody of his parents, neither of whom was present for the bail hearing. As the accused had no prior record, there is nothing to suggest he poses a significant risk to reoffend, Munce said.
"The inference has to be that he can comply with (release) conditions, because he has up to this point," he said.
Munce said the teen has no addiction issues, a position the judge argued was belied by his alleged level of intoxication.
"I find it hard to believe that there is not at least some indication of an issue," Cornick said.
Cornick said she was not satisfied releasing the teen to his parents addressed the risk he poses to the public.
"The release of (the accused) on the bail plan here would shake the confidence of reasonable, well-informed members of our community in the justice system," she said.
Cornick remanded the teen’s case to Dec. 20.
Winnipeg police confirmed Friday a second male was arrested late last month and charged with robbery, carrying a concealed weapon and wearing a disguise. He was released on a promise to appear in court.
Just one day after the robbery, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries announced it would fortify all Winnipeg outlets with new security measures, including locked, controlled entrances and photo identification requirements.
Updated on Friday, December 13, 2019 at 5:15 PM CST: Photo fixed.