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10/19/2020

B.C. convenience store attacker issued long term supervision order

A man who attacked a Prince George convenience store clerk with a pizza slicer, nearly causing the victim to lose an eye, has been sentenced to eight years in jail, followed by a 10-year long-term supervision order.

Less credit for time served for the May 2016 assault, Wesley Charles Goosehead, 40, has just 16 months left to serve on the jail term but the order means he will remain under the eye of Corrections Canada and the Parole Board of Canada for a further decade.

The terms came in the form of a joint submission from Crown and defence counsels and added up to a sentence designed to slowly reintegrate back into society someone who has spent most of the last 25 years in jail for a string of violent offences.

"He knows that he has been institutionalized, he knows that the world is a big difficult chaotic place for him and that he reverts to these patterns of behaviour that include drug use leading to violence within the community,'' prosecutor Tyler Bauman told the court.

By consent, Goosehead was designated a dangerous offender and Bauman said the Crown had originally considered seeking an indeterminate sentence for but backed away in response to the findings outlined in a so-called Gladue report, a type of pre-sentence report for offenders with an Aboriginal background.

It was also noted that 10 years is the lengthiest term that can be issued through a long-term supervision order and that the conditions typically include a curfew, staying away from people involved in criminal activity and abstaining from alcohol and drugs except for those prescribed by a physician.

Canada-wide warrants are issued "almost instantly'' for offenders who fail to return to their residence on time and those found to be intoxicated are taken back into custody by Corrections Canada for 90 days. If the parole board finds a breach of conditions was substantive, the offender will be back in jail for at least a year, the court was told.

Defence lawyer Tony Zipp said being on a long-term supervision order often means living up to stricter conditions that can include regular testing for drug and alcohol consumption, in contrast to "virtually none of that, certainly in the provincial system, and it's very limited in the federal system.''

Goosehead's jail sentence was crafted so he will spend the remainder in a provincial jail rather than a federal one where, due to a range of reasons, he has had a "long and difficult history,'' the court was told.

Goosehead hopes to spend the remainder of his sentence in a so-called substance-free unit at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre. And once out, Goosehead hopes to spend the first six months to a year in a community residential facility in the Prince George area that is geared towards Aboriginal offenders.

Goosehead had remained in custody since his arrest at the scene of the attack nearly four-and-a-half years ago. High on methamphetamine, Goosehead had walked into the store during the early morning and demanded to ``let the woman out of the cupboard.''

RCMP were called but by the time police had arrived, Goosehead had made his way into the store's office where the victim was on break. According to witness testimony, Goosehead looked around the office, grabbed a pair of pizza slicers and hit the victim in the face with one of them.

The victim suffered a laceration across his cheek, the bridge of his nose and an eyelid and, as of November 2017 when Goosehead was found guilty of aggravated assault, he continued to suffer issues with his vision.

Goosehead's record also includes a 10-year sentence, issued in 2004, for stabbing a mall security guard in the course of holding up a liquor store in Vancouver.