Court of Appeal ups Surrey man’s sentence to six months in jail from house arrest for assaulting a police officer with pepper spray. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk).

Appeal court raises Surrey man’s jail sentence to six months for assaulting cop

Robert Wayne Chaston, 31, had been serving a conditional sentence, or house arrest

A man who pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer with pepper spray has been sentenced to six months in jail after the Crown appealed the conditional sentence he was handed in Surrey provincial court.

Robert Wayne Chaston, 31, pleaded guilty on July 10 to assaulting a police officer with pepper spray — an indictable offence with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years — as well to breaking into a parkade with intent to commit an indictable offence, also an indictable offence carrying 10 years maximum.

Chaston was sentenced in Surrey provincial court on Sept. 8 to two concurrent conditional sentences — house arrest — which the Crown appealed while Chaston’s lawyer had sought a suspended sentence.

It was not his first offence against a peace officer. In January 2007 Chaston was convicted of obstructing a peace officer and in June 2005, flight while pursued by a peace officer.

“Mr. Chaston has been favoured many times with the leniency of conditional sentences or probation to address his repeated attempts to address his addiction,” Justice Anne MacKenzie noted in her reasons for judgment, delivered earlier this month in B.C.’s Court of Appeal in Vancouver. “He has also breached those court orders many times.”

READ ALSO: Ex-RCMP spokesperson Tim Shields found not guilty of sexual assault

READ ALSO: Court awards Surrey dentist $55,000 after his teeth were broken during an assault

READ ALSO: Judge gives three sentenced in Surrey unlawful confinement case a talking to

The most recent case was June 29, at about 3 a.m., at a residential complex at 15988-26 Ave. in Surrey. A security guard called police to the scene from where a constable and his service dog tracked Chaston who had been hiding in some shrubbery. He refused to show himself and blasted the officer and dog with a “significant amount” of pepper spray. The sentencing judge noted the constable required two days off duty to recover from the attack.

After Chaston was arrested he spent 12 days in pre-trial custody before pleading guilty to his crimes, and was then released on bail.

MacKenzie noted Chaston apologized to the officer at the scene and later provided him with a written apology.

The Crown sought 23 months of consecutive sentences — nine months for the break-in and 14 months for assaulting the police officer, followed by probation. “The Crown opposed a conditional sentence in light of Mr. Chaston’s previous history of failing to comply with conditional sentences,” Mackenzie noted.

The court heard Chaston had enjoyed a “positive home environment” as a child but nevertheless developed a drug addiction that made him a “menace in the community.” Despite attending various treatment programs “he has followed a cycle of sobriety and relapse, accumulating a substantial criminal record for break and enter and other property offences.

“Of particular relevance to this appeal are the convictions for breaches of at least four court orders of conditional sentences of probation as set out in the pre-sentence report,” MacKenzie noted.

The defence sought conditional sentences so as noted to interfere with Chaston’s rehabilitation at VisionQuest Recovery Society, which he started after getting bail. The provincial court judge decided concurrent 18-month conditional sentences — house arrest — followed by a year’s probation was appropriate.

MacKenzie decided otherwise. “Violations against police officers are unacceptable and must be denounced,” she said, and imposed a six-month prison term for the assault on the constable and a suspended sentence for the break-in, with a year’s probation.

Appeal Court Justices John Hunter and Mary Saunders agreed.

Saunders added “a few words” to Chaston.

She said his apology and steps he has taken to improve himself “is why the sentence is a little less than it would have been otherwise. You have, by your own actions, managed to reduced the sentence to some degree. So, know that this sentence represents a break being given to you today and that any reoffending will attract a very firm response.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey school district student enrolment down from projections

‘That’s not something I can say in my time in Surrey, I have ever said at the board table’: superintendent

White Rock acupuncturist suspended for ‘scare tactics, excessive fees’

30-day suspension for Jun Hua (Davy) Hua issued Aug. 18

Mother-daughter charged in 2017 torched-SUV killing in South Surrey now allowed contact

Judge grants Manjit Kaur Deo permission to connect with Inderdeep Kaur Deo through a lawyer

Latimer Road the latest Surrey school to report COVID-19 exposure

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

PHOTOS: One injured in shooting on South Surrey-Langley border

Shots reported near 194 Street and 34 Avenue, burned-out vehicle found in 18100-block of 12 Avenue

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read