Man agrees to exile
A man convicted of dragging a police officer with a getaway car after a break-in has been sentenced to time served — and banished from the province for a year.
Gordie Bishop declined comment when asked after court whether he had anything to say, but his father, Gordon Davis, said Bishop would likely move to Fort McMurray, where his mother and other family members live.
Davis told SaltWire Network he had hoped the judge would include a year of mandatory counselling in his son’s sentence, in order to help him cope with some trauma he faced as a child.
Bishop, 32, has been in custody since his arrest in January 2015, when he was charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, assaulting a police officer with a weapon, break and enter, dangerous driving and other charges.
He was found guilty on all counts in February, and in Supreme Court in St. John’s on Tuesday afternoon, his lawyer and the Crown presented Justice Alphonsus Faour with a joint submission for sentencing.
Along with a request that the judge credit Bishop for the two years and three months he has spent in jail, the submission included a request for a banishment order, a rarely used punishment that will see Bishop banned from Newfoundland and Labrador for a year, while he’s on probation.
“It is important to know that this is not designed to foist a criminal on another jurisdiction. It’s designed to break a cycle of criminality,” Bishop’s lawyer, Stan MacDonald, told the court, adding Bishop’s personal history includes physical abuse, and a family history of mental illness and separation, with Bishop separated from his family at one point. “It’s been recognized by Mr. Bishop that he needs to do things differently, and he does have prospects outside Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Mr. Bishop has never been away from Newfoundland, but he has agreed he will leave the province. This will require separation from family and friends, but most importantly, separation from a lifestyle.”
Bishop, who has a 27-page criminal record, including convictions for multiple break-ins, property offences, possession of stolen goods, dangerous operation of a vehicle and assault with a weapon, was arrested Jan. 2, 2015, after police responded to an early morning alarm call at the Peter Easton Pub on Cookstown Road. Bishop was inside the building when officers arrived, but ran out and jumped into a vehicle that was parked outside.
When Const. Cathy Snelgrove tried to stop him, he sped off, dragging her until she managed to get free at the intersection of Cookstown and Lemarchant roads.
Snelgrove testified during Bishop’s trial that she had reached into the car through the passenger door to try to grab the keys, and fell out after she was dragged, hitting her head. At that time, she said, she was working as a dispatcher because she wasn’t physically ready to go back on the street.
Snelgrove was still in hospital when Bishop was arrested four days later.
In accepting the joint submission on sentencing, Faour acknowledged there was no evidence Bishop intended to injure Snelgrove or another officer, but it happened in a moment of panic.
“But I don’t want to minimize the fact that these were serious offences, and in the case of Const. Snelgrove, the injuries were serious,” the judge said.
Faour said the main mitigating factor in the case is Bishop’s apparent willingness to make a break from his old life, as written in a pre-sentence report submitted to the court.
Bishop had acknowledged his wrongdoings and had expressed remorse, and had participated in different programs while in jail.
Bishop’s sentence also includes a three-year driving ban.
Gordie Bishop looks towards his father as he is taken out of the courtroom at Supreme Court in St. John’s Tuesday afternoon, to make preparations for his release. He was sentenced to time served for dragging a police officer with a getaway car after a...