June 22nd, 2024

‘Prolific’ offender gets 90 days for stolen licence plate


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 9, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A “prolific” offender who was prohibited from driving at the time he was caught with a stolen licence plate, has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and given another driving prohibition.
Eric Christopher Smith was sentenced Monday in Lethbridge provincial court after he pleaded guilty to charges of driving while prohibited and possession of stolen property under $5,000.
On July 13 of last year Lethbridge police noticed a grey Porsche Cayenne with a stolen licence plate relating to a Calgary police file. Officers saw Smith driving the vehicle, and after he stopped they arrested him and charged him with the offences.
Smith had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, but changed his pleas Monday and was sentenced to 90 days in jail for driving while prohibited and 30 days concurrent for possession of the stolen licence plate. Smith, who was already under a three-year driving prohibition from 2019 for evading police, was prohibited from driving for an additional two years.
Smith was given credit for the equivalent of 51 days spent in remand custody, leaving 39 days on his sentence. 
“He’s remorseful for his actions,” his lawyer said, adding Smith knew he shouldn’t be driving and should have had a licence plate that belonged to him.
Smith is no stranger to local authorities, including Judge Erin Olsen who said she remembers dealing with the offender previously.
“I recall Mr. Smith being a prolific property offender and driving-related offences offender,” Olsen said. “What I don’t recall is whether there is some explanation for this behaviour beyond some of the profit that comes with this type of criminality.”
Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz explained Smith had a troubled childhood and had little parental support, which contributed to his drug addiction and subsequent criminal offences. However, he has recently found supports in Red Deer and finally has a “father figure” in his life to provide guidance.
Although Olsen acknowledged Smith’s challenges in life, she wasn’t convinced it adequately explained his behaviour.
“A lot of people we encounter in our system and elsewhere have those same troubling backgrounds and difficulties, but don’t offend in the way that Mr. Smith does.”

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