‘You’re your own worst enemy’: Judge sentences serial driving offender

Devon Forsyth was facing his ninth driving while prohibited charge in court Monday morning

A provincial court judge mused at the thought of a man telling fellow inmates he was in jail on driving offences after sentencing him to another 18 days in jail for his ninth driving while prohibited conviction.

Devon Shaun Forsyth was in court on two counts of possession of stolen property and theft under $5,000 and driving while prohibited, with a count of failing to appear at his January trial also intended for a guilty plea.

“You can’t drive until you properly get a licence. Otherwise you get consequences like this 90 days jail. You don’t want that. Hey, I don’t like that either,’” Judge Robin Smith said.

“I just imagine when you’re there, incarcerated, and they say ‘what are you in for,’ and they say ‘oh, I did this’ and ‘I did that,’ and they ask you, ‘oh, what am I in for? Oh, I was driving while prohibited. ‘What, some judge sent you to jail for driving while prohibited?’ Then you have to mention under your breath ‘well yeah, this is the ninth one.’

“You’re your own worst enemy on that.”

On the property crime file, Summerland RCMP received a call on Aug. 30, 2016 to a missing motorbike, and upon speaking to a neighbour witness, police identified Forsyth as the main suspect. Searching his property, officers found that motorbike and another bike that had been reported stolen.

In a joint submission, Forsyth received a suspended sentence with probation for 12 months for that charge, which defence lawyer Michael Patterson said was fuelled by a heroin addiction. Patterson said Forsyth was willing to undergo addictions counselling — likely, he said, at Discovery House, pending a response from the recovery house.

And on Nov. 7, 2016, Forsyth was found driving on Fairview Road, with officers aware Forsyth was prohibited from driving, leading to him being pulled over.

Forsyth does have some past convictions on drug charges and disobeying a court order, but the one Judge Robin Smith appeared most concerned about was Forsyth’s history with driving while prohibited, with eight prior convictions, including jail sentences on the more recent convictions.

Five of the past convictions have occurred since 2016.

Patterson told the judge Forsyth is a mechanic, so a driving prohibition is challenging for him. He suggested a 72-day sentence — time served — while the Crown sought 90 days, and Smith landed on the side of the Crown.

Forsyth was also handed another year-long driving prohibition, but Smith noted he likely has an indefinite driving prohibition from the superintendent of motor vehicles.

Smith suggested Forsyth “could do better than this,” or he will continue down the same path.

Forsyth was also in court on another more recent matter, in which he is charged with a variety of counts, including assaulting a police officer, possession of a controlled substance, flight from police, possessing a prohibited non-firearm weapon and others.

But because of not-guilty pleas on that file, it will be going to the judicial case manager on Wednesday to schedule a trial.

Forsyth’s single count of failing to appear is joining those other charges, after his guilty plea was revoked when he said he mixed up the dates.

Smith told Forsyth he could not accept a guilty plea with that explanation, despite Forsyth repeatedly suggesting he was guilty.



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