A judge hesitated to show leniency to a repeat offender who robbed the same liquor store twice in Penticton, calling him a “broken record.”
Lawrence Jordan Brown, 25, received six months in jail plus time served since his December 2014 arrest after pleading guilty to assault with intent to resist arrest, theft under $5,000, resisting a peace officer and two breaches of probation.
Brown, who has 57 prior convictions including some for robbery, was listed in 2012 as one of B.C.’s Top 10 most wanted car thieves. He tested the compassion of Judge Greg Koturbash, who noted that Brown has a “very difficult background to read about” having been subject to a violent family history, overt racism, using drugs at a young age and being segregated from his classmates in school
“At some point, and this point has arrived, sentencing court must conclude that the offender has been given several opportunities to overcome whatever hardships he’s encountered,” Koturbash said.
“Mr. Brown having said all that though I’m not prepared to give up on you entirely,” Koturbash said. “But I can say that the ice is getting very thin.”
Brown, who appeared via video from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre in Penticton Provincial Court, was fidgeting and held his head in his hands for much of the sentencing hearing.
Brown entered the Government Street Liquor Store on Dec. 10, 2014 around 9 p.m., told the staff he’d forgotten his wallet and left. After Brown left the liquor store staff noticed he had stolen a bottle of vodka. Brown returned to the store 90 minutes later, and this time employees locked the door to keep him inside. Brown struggled with an employee over a flat of mini bottles, throwing a female employee against a wall and hurting her back.
A male employee then tussled with Brown until the two ended up outside when police arrived. The male employee and the peace officer were able to subdue Brown after a struggle that bruised and cracked the ribs of the officer.
Brown continued to resist after being handcuffed and gave police trouble back at the detachment calling them “pigs” and “goofs” and being uncooperative.
Koturbash noted that Brown had been previously sentenced for theft from the same liquor store, and he was on probation at the time of the most recent offence.
Two days after his arrest Brown assaulted another inmate while in custody and in April Brown was found in possession of contraband. In December 2015 Brown assaulted another inmate, receiving 24 days of segregation. There were also multiple instances where Brown refused to follow directions from corrections officers and would open his cell window and smoke marijuana.
“I do have a great deal of compassion for you Mr. Brown,” Koturbash said referring to Brown’s troubling background.
“At the same time Mr. Brown I’ve got a duty to protect the public and the citizens of Penticton. It’s particularly aggravating as I indicated that you went back to this very same Government (Street) Liquor Store.”
Brown received two years probation, was ordered not to attend the Government Street Liquor Store or have any contact with the employees involved in the incident and was ordered to pay a $1,000 victim surcharge.
“I do want to wish you good luck. I hope you can turn this boat around and make the right choices going forward,” Koturbash said.