A teenager who crashed a stolen truck through a store and led police on a high-speed chase will live with a family member while awaiting entry to a private rehabilitation clinic.
Last month, Crown prosecutor Brendan Green told the NWT’s youth court that on May 16, 2019, RCMP received a report of vandalism and a theft from a school board building of a truck, laptop, cash box, and other items.
At 7pm that day, RCMP called on a residence in a South Slave community where the youth was yelling and kicking at a door, wanting to fight someone inside. It appeared he had a handgun in his pocket. (The youth later pleaded guilty to carrying a gun in for the purpose of committing an offence and mischief.)
While police were looking for the youth that same night, there was a report of him kicking in the door of another residence. He was discovered cooking food by the occupant.
He then threatened the occupant with a knife and stole the man’s watch and contents of his pocket.
The victim fled on a bicycle while being chased by the knife-wielding youth. (The youth pleaded guilty to robbery and breaching a court order to keep the peace and be of good behaviour).
While police were still investigating those calls, an alarm went off at a large store in the community: a truck had been driven through the front door.
“The footage showed [the youth] backing the truck up to the main doors, putting the back bumper on the doors, and accelerating through the glass doors inside the building,” said Green, noting the youth wasn’t wearing anything to mask his appearance.
“[The youth] is seen then exiting the truck, entering the [store] … he went to an electronics case and grabbed some electronics and fled in the vehicle.”
The youth pleaded guilty to several charges in relation to that incident.
That night, an RCMP officer spotted a vehicle speeding well in excess of the posted 90 km/h limit.
A chase ensued with the youth reaching speeds of 170 km/h, passing several vehicles. It ended when the truck ran out of gas.
As police approached with guns drawn, the youth was seen drinking from a bottle of vodka.
‘This is his opportunity’
The youth pleaded guilty to several charges, including break and enter, vehicle theft, dangerous driving, and breach of a court order not to drink alcohol.
The youth also pleaded guilty to assaulting a peace officer by throwing a water bottle at a corrections worker in the North Slave Correctional Complex in August 2019.
Defence lawyer Tracy Bock told the court the youth wants to enter a private rehabilitation clinic in Saskatchewan but, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the facility isn’t currently accepting new clients.
In the interim, the youth will be monitored by a case worker and RCMP will be notified of his presence in the community. (The communities involved cannot be named.)
“In my conversations [with the youth] a lot of people are trying to help him – probation, social services – this is his opportunity to do well,” said Bock.
“He knows … this is his opportunity to take advantage of a lot of resources.
“There are a lot of positives about [the youth]. He knows he has a lot he has to work on … and he understands he needs to abide by these conditions.”
Judge Garth Malakoe noted the youth had a six-page criminal record.
At the date of sentencing, the youth had already served eight months in custody. He received a further four-month deferred custody and supervision order as well as a period of probation.
The Crown dropped several other charges in exchange for the guilty pleas.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act prohibits publishing the name of a young offender or any other information that might identify them.