By Keith Lacey
A man who wielded a loaded shotgun during an armed robbery of a New Sudbury convenience store three weeks ago was given a six-year penitentiary term Thursday.
Court heard David Craig, 38, had been on federal parole for only two weeks when he and three other men planned the armed robbery of the convenience store around 10 pm March 13.
Craig's six-year sentence will run consecutive to time he still has to serve on a two-year penitentiary term he received in 2000 for arson.
Craig, a father of three children, pleaded guilty to armed robbery and possession of weapons dangerous to the public peace.
Justice Guy Mahaffy said the six-year sentence being proposed was "the bare minimum" considering Craig's criminal record, his ascension to crimes of violence and the serious circumstances of this case in which a loaded weapon was used in the commission of a robbery.
Besides the lengthy penitentiary term, Mahaffy prohibited Craig from owning or possessing any prohibited weapon or firearm for life and ordered him to provide a DNA sample for a national crime data bank.
Assistant Crown attorney Alex Kurke told the court Craig and three men planned the armed robbery and were driven to the convenience store by a woman. Craig was carrying a loaded .410 shotgun and stood outside the store keeping watch while the three other men, all wearing balaclavas, entered the store and proceeded to steal cigarettes, about $500 in cash from the register and a container full of loose change.
The store owner chased the men outside the store, got close enough to the getaway car to take down a licence plate number and police were called.
Inside a South End apartment, police found a large amount of cigarettes and a shotgun. Craig was one of the men arrested and admitted his involvement with police immediately.
Defence counsel Natalie Boivin acknowledged the aggravating factors in this case are many, including the fact her client has a long record, had just been paroled and was under court order not to own or possess any prohibited weapon for 10 years.
However, Craig is an individual "who isn't violent per se" and whose record is almost entirely for property offences, she said.
Craig co-operated with police, his plea of guilt saved the administration of justice a great deal of time and money and he does have remorse for his actions, said Boivin. While it isn't an excuse, it is true Craig was "very, very frustrated" he was unable to see his children after his release from the penitentiary, she said.
Those also charged in relation to the robbery include Gerald Taillefer, 23, Michael St. Louis, 22 and James Roach, 21.