June 25th, 2024

Sentencing adjourned for attempted robbery

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 20, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A southern Alberta man who attempted to rob a Lethbridge convenience store last year, hopes to convince a judge he doesn’t deserve to spend up to two years in jail.
Hunter Alexander Frank, who is in custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, could face between 18 and 24 months in jail if the Crown convinces the judge that amount of time is warranted. Defence, however, believes a sentence of three to four months is appropriate given Frank’s particular circumstances, youthfulness and lack of an adult criminal record.
The accused appeared in Lethbridge provincial court this week, where he pleaded guilty to one charge each of attempted robbery and breach of curfew. Sentencing was adjourned, however, to Feb. 15 to allow time for the preparation of a pre-sentence report and for Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz to gather information on which the judge can make a decision.
At about 11 p.m. Dec. 2 of last year Frank, who was wearing a bandana over his face, entered a northside convenience store and asked for cigarettes. As the 64-year-old female clerk complied, Frank pulled out a knife and walked around the counter toward the clerk.
The clerk, who Crown Prosecutor Adam Zelmer said feared for her life, screamed for help and pressed a panic button, which set off an alarm. Frank fled but was later identified, and following a police investigation he was arrested at the homeless shelter.
Frank confessed to the crime and said he attempted to rob the store to support his addiction to fentanyl.
“I did it for money,” he told police.
The Crown recommended ordering a pre-sentence report and Gladue report, which would provide the judge with detailed information about Frank’s aboriginal background. Shurtz pointed out, however, the reports typically take several months to prepare, during which his client, who has already been in custody for nearly 50 days, would have to remain in custody. Shurtz said by the time the reports are completed, Frank will have been in custody longer than the proposed sentence of three to four months.
“My concern is that if we put this over for too lengthy of a period, then he’ll end up being in custody longer than need be on what the appropriate sentence would be,” Shurtz said.
He noted he had compiled information relating Gladue factors to support defence’s position on sentencing, and added he could gather more information from his client if the matter was adjourned for a short period of time to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Judge Jerry LeGrandeur adjourned the sentencing hearing for a month, but noted that likely won’t be enough time to prepare a pre-sentence report. He also pointed out that if defence is wrong, then he will likely end up ordering a Gladue report anyway, and the matter will go on even longer.
LeGrander reminded counsel that the normal range of sentence for an attempted robbery is more than three or four months, and defence would need to provide enough information about Frank’s indigenous issues, background and moral culpability to justify a reduction in sentence.

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