Why, questioned the judge, if that had been the case, did the Mount Pleasant teen go to the property wearing a mask?
“It’s something that doesn’t hold a whole lot of water with me,” said Lantz in sentencing the 19-year-old to 12 months in jail for his part in the 2012 armed robbery at a Notre Dame Street residence.
Smith appeared in Summerside provincial court Wednesday for sentencing on single counts of robbery and wearing a disguise in committing a robbery.
The crime took place around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Smith and a group of others went to the property, masked, entered a camper trailer in the back yard, robbed and assaulted the two 16-year-old men who were inside.
Smith and another individual, a 15-year-old male, were the only two charged and convicted of robbery and wearing a disguise while committing robbery.
The youth, who had a lengthy prior record, was sentenced to 270 days in secure custody followed by 18 months of probation.
It was the youth, the court heard, that had the weapon, described as an air gun.
He assaulted and robbed one of the victims while Smith pushed the other victim, punched him and threatened to stab him although the victim never saw a knife.
The teenaged victim was able to remove Smith’s mask — a bandana, the court was told — briefly and got a look at his assaulter before the group fled.
Both victims sustained injuries, with Smith’s victim suffering bruising to his head.
Taken were jewelry and other items. Only a bracelet was recovered.
Smith and his co-accused were arrested a short time later. The youth remained in custody until his sentencing.
Crown attorney David O’Brien detailed Smith’s presentence report, which classified the teen as an underachiever and someone who had a reputation in school as being a “tough guy” who got into several “scuffles.”
Smith, unlike his co-accused, had no previous record.
O’Brien said the group’s collective actions should be considered when it comes to sentencing. Although the robbery occurred at a residential property the Crown wasn’t treating it as a home invasion, which carries a much stiffer penalty of time in a federal prison.
The Crown recommended a sentence of 12 to 15 months behind bars, a jail term to which Smith’s lawyer, Robert McNeill, took issue.
McNeill argued although Smith may have been involved in the incident he didn’t have a weapon and didn’t steal any of the items.
The defence attorney said Smith’s co-accused has a “much higher degree of involvement” and warranted a harsher sentence.
“There were issues between the victim and my client. He was interested only in getting into a fight,” McNeill contented.
Lantz quickly interjected.
“I question why he went there masked if he was looking for a fight,” said the judge.
McNeill argued that there “wasn’t a great deal of premeditation”, adding that his client was drinking at the time and that it was “spur of the moment.”
“He realizes it was wrong. It wasn’t his intention to rob (the victims). If he had been sober, thinking more clearly, he probably could have figured out what was going on.”
McNeill asked that his client be given a lesser sentence of nine months in jail.
Lantz disagreed, noting that incidents such as the one detailed in this case, are becoming all too common.
“We have a situation which has been described as extremely stupid and I would have to agree with that. There appears to be a lot of extremely stupid acts by young people in the last little while,” said the judge. “It confounds me as to why this is happening.”
Lantz said a clear message of denunciation must be made through sentencing to the public that these types of incidents will not be tolerated and those involved will be harshly punished.
“People really have to wake up out there and look at what they are doing,” he said, adding Smith could be looking at four years in prison if the Crown had treated the crime as a home invasion. “These are serious acts.”
Once out of jail, Smith will be on probation for 12 months, during which time he must undergo assessment, counselling and treatment for any mental health, anger and addictions problems. He was also ordered to stay away from the victims.
Smith will be prohibited for 10 years from owning or possessing weapons or ammunition and was ordered to provide police with a DNA sample.