A teen who was “swept along” into an armed robbery has avoided jail, but he’ll have to buy his Slurpees elsewhere for a while.
As part of his probation, the 17-year-old has been banned from all 7-Eleven stores.
In delivering the sentence, Judge John Combs said the youth wasn’t the one who planned the robbery. The boy didn’t know what was going on until he was handed a knife.
“He was swept along with the moment,” Combs said in Brandon provincial court on Wednesday.
The teen was one of five people involved in the robbery of the Willowdale Crescent 7-Eleven on Sept. 27.
Three armed youth entered the store as two men waited outside in a stolen pickup truck.
One 17-year-old boy pointed a shotgun at the clerk, while a 14-year-old boy armed with a baseball bat guarded the door.
Another 17-year-old boy stood between the other two and held a knife that had been given to him by one of the men in the truck.
The youths then fled with cigarettes and $20 cash.
No one was harmed.
The teen sentenced on Wednesday for robbery with a weapon was the one armed with the knife.
Crown attorney Grant Hughes asked Combs to impose eight months in jail, followed by four months supervision in the community and probation.
Defence lawyer Patrick Sullivan suggested a six-month deferred custody order that would spare his young client from jail. That order could be followed by probation, Sullivan said.
Sullivan said the youth is from rural Westman and never got into trouble until he moved to Brandon.
Here, he lived at a Youth for Christ Uturn home where he’d hang around with an old acquaintance, one of the co-accused in the 7-Eleven robbery.
The night of the robbery, the teen was picked up by that acquaintance and didn’t realize what was going to happen until he sat in the stolen pickup truck with the others and was handed a knife.
Sullivan said the youth, scared and intimidated, believed he couldn’t refuse to go along with the heist.
The youth, who had no prior criminal record, later co-operated with police, Sullivan said. The teen has since moved back to rural Westman, has attended school regularly and has a summer job lined up.
The young robber himself told court that a jail sentence would be a setback.
Combs agreed that jail would be too harsh for a teen unlikely to be involved in crime again and imposed six months of deferred custody.
The sentence (a form of probation) means the youth won’t go to jail unless he breaches its conditions, in which case he’ll spend part of the remainder behind bars. Deferred custody will be followed by 18 months of probation.
While on deferred custody and on probation — a total of two years — the boy isn’t allowed to attend any 7-Eleven store.
Court was told that the robbery was gang-related and while not a gang member himself, the teen was ordered to stay away from Manitoba Warriors street gang members and associates.
The other two youths involved have already been sentenced.
The one who held the gun received 10 months in jail on top of four months pre-sentence custody, followed by five months supervision and then two years of probation. He’d also plead guilty to stealing the shotgun from another vehicle earlier, and other offences.
The teen who had the baseball bat was sentenced to six months in jail, followed by three months supervision in the community and two years of probation. This youth was also sentenced for stealing the pickup truck used as the getaway car.
Two men still face charges.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen