The Crown is urging a judge to sentence a 15-year-old-boy to the maximum term for a violent robbery that “shook the city,” sending one woman to hospital and sparking increased security at Liquor Marts.

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The Crown is urging a judge to sentence a 15-year-old-boy to the maximum term for a violent robbery that "shook the city," sending one woman to hospital and sparking increased security at Liquor Marts.

The offence was committed at a time "when liquor store robberies and thefts were a daily occurrence," Crown attorney David Burland told provincial court Judge Dale Schille.

"This wasn’t a shoplifting gone bad… it was a planned robbery from the start," he said.

Police dusts for prints as they investigate a robbery at a Liquor Mart on Keewatin in Winnipeg on November 20, 2019. An employee was injured in the robbery. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

Police dusts for prints as they investigate a robbery at a Liquor Mart on Keewatin in Winnipeg on November 20, 2019. An employee was injured in the robbery. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

Burland is urging Schille to sentence the boy to three years custody and community supervision, the maximum term allowed under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The 15-year-old boy, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested Nov. 20 after he and two co-accused robbed the Tyndall Market mall Liquor Mart. After fleeing the liquor store, the boy threatened and injured several more people inside and outside the mall before he was finally taken to the ground by a man who held him until police arrived.

"This offence and offences like it are why everyone who wants to stop at the liquor store now has to wait between the doors for their identification to be scanned," Burland said.

Last month, the boy pleaded guilty to five counts of robbery, three counts of assault, and one count each of mischief and uttering threats.

"There is no question that but for his lack of a record, the Crown would be seeking an adult sentence," Burland said.

An adult co-accused, Nucian Kennedy, who was unarmed and did not assault anyone, was previously sentenced to nine months in jail.

If the youth accused in court Tuesday was an adult, he would likely be facing a sentence of 10 years or more in prison, Burland said.

The three year recommended sentence "doesn’t come close to what an adult would receive," he said. Schille has reserved his decision.

Court heard the accused, Kennedy and another accused youth wearing a mask and armed with a knife stormed into the liquor store shortly before 4 p.m. and started scooping up bottles of liquor, yelling at staff not to look at their faces.

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries installed secure entrances in its liquor stores in response to increased thefts and robberies at retail locations. (Jesse Boily / Winnipeg Free Press files)

JESSE BOILY / WINNIPEG FREE PRES

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries installed secure entrances in its liquor stores in response to increased thefts and robberies at retail locations. (Jesse Boily / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Security video captured the accused approaching a female staff member at a cash register and punching her in the face. The woman retreated to an office as the boy turned his attention to another staff member, Randi-Lee Chase, standing behind a service counter.

"Without provocation," the boy "wound up and punched Chase in the face," knocking her unconscious, Burland said.

Security footage of the robbery played for the court showed Chase on the floor as she suffered a prolonged seizure. She was taken to hospital in critical condition and had a fractured jaw.

Chase, who participated in the sentencing hearing via teleconference, said she continues to suffer from depression and overwhelming feelings of fear following the attack.

"I am constantly afraid in terms of my security and am unable to take public transit due to fear," she said. "I am afraid of what life will look like when he is released."

Manitoba liquor store employee Randi Chase, who was assaulted during a robbery, speaks to media in Winnipeg on Wednesday November 27, 2019. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

Manitoba liquor store employee Randi Chase, who was assaulted during a robbery, speaks to media in Winnipeg on Wednesday November 27, 2019. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

After assaulting Chase, the boy grappled with a male staff member before escaping the liquor store and fleeing through the mall.

Separated from his two co-accused, the boy threatened to stab two women at a travel store and demanded money. The teen assaulted one of the women and broke her glasses 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 man tackled him to the ground and held him for police.

Defence lawyer Matthew Munce said the boy was so intoxicated by alcohol and pills he had no memory of the liquor mart robbery and its aftermath.

Munce, who at a bail hearing in December told a judge the boy had no addiction issues, told Schille on Tuesday the boy’s "history of substance abuse" should be considered as a mitigating factor in support of a sentence no longer than 18 months.

Munce said the boy had a "relatively uneventful upbringing" at Little Saskatchewan First Nation, but "started associating with negative peers" after moving to Winnipeg in 2016.

Schille will sentence the boy May 11.

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

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