Would-be robber jailed after trail of blood leads to capture
A man who has admitted he entered South Surrey's South Point Pub last year wearing a mask and waving a loaded pistol has been sentenced to three years in jail.
Robbie Lee Morris was handed the sentence in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster last month by Justice Robert Crawford, after pleading guilty to possession of a loaded, restricted and unlicensed firearm.
Crawford noted the New Year's Day incident, in which shots were fired, had "traumatized" one participant and could have had tragic results.
Fortunately, he said, Morris was on the receiving end of the "donnybrook" that ensued when he walked in on a male and female employee cleaning up after New Year's celebrations in the early hours of Jan. 1.
The female employee's boyfriend was also in the pub at the time, Crawford said, and "threw himself" at Morris, who may have been under the effects of alcohol.
Although shots were fired, Crawford said, Morris appeared to have been disarmed in the subsequent scrap,
In addition, Morris was punched, gouged in the eye and smashed over the head with a bar stool, and it was his blood that marked his path when he fled from the pub and over a nearby fence.
DNA was matched with federal databank records which led directly to Morris, who has two prior convictions for robbery. He was arrested in June 2012.
Going in Morris' favour in considering sentencing, Crawford said, was the fact that he had been "co-operative and compliant" when arrested, and had been a model prisoner over months he had spent in pre-trial custody.
It also appears that Morris had, with the support of family, "somewhat righted his ship" between the incident and his arrest, Crawford said. He had found work on the waterfront, and was receiving methadone treatment for a heroin addiction, Crawford added.
Balancing that, he said, had been a series of prior convictions dating back years.
In imposing a sentence, Crawford noted that Canada, unlike its neighbour "to the south of the 49th parallel," has a very restrictive view on guns "particularly to guns and their use in any criminal behaviour."
While citing the deterrent effect as one of the reasons a jail sentence was warranted, Crawford reduced a potential four-year sentence by a year for time already served in jail, and waived the customary victim-fine surcharge due to a plea from Morris' counsel, who cited financial hardship.