Judge unconvinced of man’s remorse
Defence lawyer Derek Martin played the race card for his client in Superior Court in Simcoe.
Still, Christopher Thompson, 35, was found guilty last month of two counts of breaking and entering into Simcoe businesses last year.
And he was sentenced to 20 months at the Ontario Correctional Institute in Brampton, where he can get help for drug issues. Justice Robert Nightingale gave him credit for having served 133 days in jail.
Martin said Thompson, who is black and was once banished from Norfolk County by another judge, “experienced discrimination” growing up.
“It was very difficult for him to grow up in this community where he was well-known to all the police in Simcoe.”
But assistant Crown attorney Lynette Fritzley dismissed any notion of racism on the part of police against Thompson.
“Mr. Thompson is well-known to police because he’s Christopher Thompson, not because of the colour of his skin,” Fritzley said.
“This is a small town and he has a horrible record and every single police officer knows him and pays attention to him because he’s Christopher Thompson.”
Fritzley said Thompson has been convicted several times and, each time, assures the court he will make changes in his life.
“Now he’s here before the Superior Court and it’s too little and too late in my opinion.”
Fritzley said Thompson’s “extensive criminal history” has spanned most of his adult life as he’s racked up more than 60 convictions, including 10 prior convictions for breaking and entering.
At the time last year when he broke into Trophy Haven on Peel Street, Thompson was still on probation for previous offences that earned him banishment from Norfolk.
Thompson stole several thousand dollars worth of trading cards and caused more than $500 in damage at one business that had been opened by a retiree, who loves sports memorabilia.
He denied breaking into the businesses and tried to implicate another person in the case but was found guilty by Nightingale.
“We need to separate him from our society that he keeps victimizing,” Fritzley said.
She asked the judge to consider a sentence of 30 months.
Martin suggested an appropriate sentence would be 18 months.
He said his client had obtained a job and was turning around his life when another breach of conditions landed him back in jail and he lost the job.
“He’s reached a turning point,” said Martin.
“He was off drugs and making more money working than by committing crimes.”
Thompson addressed the judge in a 20-minute discourse where he took responsibility for his extensive record, explaining he has accepted Christ and realized the purpose of his life.
“I do deserve a punishment today but not judgment,” Thompson said.
“I’m ready for a change in my life. This is the last time the court system will ever see me except for when I go back in the prison to help those who are lost,” he said.
“Do what ever you need to do. This is me.”
In his sentencing, the judge noted that Thompson had admitted to lying in court when he “tried to pull one over on the system”.
“I’m not convinced of his remorse.”
Thompson must not be near his victims or their businesses during his three-year probation and must have no weapons or drugs.
He’ll return to court to deal with other charges of breaking bail conditions and obstructing a police officer.
Mr. Thompson is well-known to police because he’s Christopher Thompson, not because of the colour of his skin.” Assistant Crown attorney, Lynette Fritzley