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Fake gun Mac's holdup results in jail time

The heist happened last summer
2016-05-08 Janes Walk DMH-14
File photo. Donna Hopper/SooToday

A local man was jailed Tuesday for two years less a day for robbing a Sault Ste. Marie convenience store with an imitation handgun last summer.

Jestin Ryan (aka Baillie) had faced a charge of using a prohibited firearm in a robbery in connection with the July 19, 2018 heist.

But the Crown accepted a guilty plea to the included offence of robbery.

The 28-year-old also was convicted of stealing merchandise from the Station Mall Wal-Mart on June 9 of last year and four counts of breaching court orders.

Ontario Court Justice Melanie Dunn heard Ryan entered a Mac's store on Wellington Street East at 12:30 a.m and pulled out a black handgun from the waistband of his pants.

He robbed the male employee of $30 cash and $55 worth of products.

The incident was caught on video and after police released it to the media, four anonymous tips were received, identifying Ryan as the perpetrator, assist Crown attorney Marie-Eve Talbot said.

When he was arrested the accused told an officer he has been struggling with addiction all his life, she said.

"A heroin addiction was driving this," defence lawyer Bruce Willson told the court, adding his client "has been struggling for many, many years."

He said the Crown and he had agreed a three-year global sentence would be appropriate because "whether it is an imitation firearm or not, if you go into a store and do this, It's federal time."

But "we're suggesting two years less a day to keep him in the provincial system," Willson said, asking for a recommendation that Ryan serve his sentence in a facility where he can receive treatment.

"He is remorseful and has a bad addiction problem."

Talbot said the sentence was a joint position.

The prosecutor cited the need to denunciate Ryan's criminal conduct and to show it will not be tolerated.

Ryan has a lengthy, three-page criminal record with a number of property and violent offences, she said.

Talbot also urged the judge to place him on probation for three years.

The lawyers asked Dunn to note that Ryan has spent 367 days In pre-sentence custody.

The two-year-less-a-day sentence he received Tuesday is in addition to that time.

When she imposed sentence, Dunn told him that a robbery, even with an imitation firearm, is a serious offence.

The fear it can instil in a victim could be life long, she said, noting the accused seemed to understand that from the comments he made to the court.

Dunn called his remorse and long-time addiction "to a dangerous substance" mitigating factors.
The judge ordered that he serve his time in a facility that can assist him.

During his three-year probation – the maximum permitted under the Criminal Code of Canada – Ryan must attend all recommended counselling, including a substance abuse program.

He must also stay away from the Mac's store at 1230 Wellington St. E.

The judge imposed a life-time weapon prohibition and ordered Ryan to provide a DNA sample for the national registry.

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About the Author: Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is a freelance journalist who has been covering Sault Ste. Marie's courts and other local news for more than 35 years.
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