Judge un­con­vinced of man’s re­morse

The Expositor (Brantford) - - NEWS - SU­SAN GAM­BLE EXPOSITOR STAFF SGam­ble@post­media.com @EXPSGam­ble

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

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