Judge weighing Gladue factors before sentencing
But I need to be able to sleep at night and make sure it’s the appropriate sentence.
It’s true a 19-year-old man armed himself with a bladed weapon and embarked on a robbery spree that frightened employees of five Regina businesses.
It’s also true the man is young, has a relatively minor criminal record and is an Indigenous person with a range of what are known as Gladue factors.
A Regina provincial court judge is now weighing those two sides as she tries to decide how best to sentence Keegan Machiskinic.
Earlier this week, Crown and defence counsel approached Judge Marylynne Beaton with a joint recommendation on sentence, suggesting a term of 4½ years, or three years, three months after remand credit. But Beaton expressed some reservations and sought further information on the case, referencing Machiskinic’s age, record and background — particularly Gladue factors related to his history as an Indigenous person.
It’s rare judges depart from a joint submission, and Beaton made it clear she might end up imposing the sentence as requested.
“But I need to be able to sleep at night and make sure it’s the appropriate sentence,” she said.
She requested an additional report on Machiskinic to look into his background, and the case was set over to Dec. 21 to allow time for that to be completed.
Court heard Machiskinic, accompanied by another male on each occasion, held up five businesses between Dec. 30, 2017, and Jan. 11. Fuelled by drugs and alcohol, the males walked into convenience stores and doughnut shops, having armed themselves with knives and, in many cases, a machete. While his accomplices were masked, Machiskinic went in with his face exposed and touched surfaces without gloves.
Usually, the robbers made off with cigarettes and a relatively small amount of cash, although on one occasion, they came away empty-handed. The spree came to an end early on Jan. 11, when police spotted a Ford Ranger matching the description of a getaway vehicle. A tire-deflation device was used to stop the truck.
Machiskinic fled, but was quickly arrested, and a zip gun (a term for a homemade gun) was found in his waistband, court heard.
Two other males — one adult and one youth — were also charged. It wasn’t clear what happened with the youth’s charges, but the adult remains before the court.
Crown prosecutor Derek Davidson acknowledged 4½ years is a serious sentence, but he argued it’s merited based on the number of robberies, the number of victims affected, the presence of a weapon and the fact employees of these sorts of businesses are considered vulnerable. Pointing to case law, he added the suggested sentence is actually at the lower end of the usual four- to six-year range.
Defence lawyer Adam Fritzler said his client was born to a mother with addictions issues and a father who was in and out of custody. He was raised by extended family and within foster homes.
Speaking on his own behalf, Machiskinic told Beaton he wasn’t raised to see right from wrong, but that he wants to “do better.”
“I feel remorse for what I did,” he said.