Alberni arsonist loses appeal for conditional sentence

The B.C. Court of Appeal has denied an application for a conditional sentence from the Alberni man who went on an arson spree in 2010.

The B.C. Court of Appeal has denied an application for a conditional sentence from the Port Alberni man who went on an arson spree in 2010.

Ryan Justin Cootes, 24, was convicted last year of three counts of arson and sentenced to 18 months in prison in Port Alberni provincial court.

In a 2-1 vote, the appeal judges reduced his sentence from 18-months to 12 months because Cootes had no previous criminal record and because he is a First Nations offender, court documents show.

The offense was Cootes’ first. He’d grasped the seriousness of his actions and was remorseful, the judgment noted. As well, Cootes displayed no predilection for starting fires, nor were they targeted. The 18-month sentence was therefore too long, according to the judgment.

The judgment further noted, however, that the sentencing judge failed to give more significance to Cootes’ aboriginal background and exercise the option of a conditional sentence. “I proceed on the basis that it is available. Whether it is appropriate is another matter,” the sentencing judge noted.

According to Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code, special attention must be given to an offender’s aboriginal status when a sentence is rendered.

The conditional sentence option was open to the judge, but so too was the weight that had to be given to community safety. The court couldn’t accept that the stressors that caused Cootes to snap that August morning were behind him, therefore Cootes could, if placed on a conditional sentence, be a danger to the community, the judgment noted.

Justice Smith, however, dissented, saying that the sentence was unfit. A conditional sentence, with appropriate conditions, could have achieved as much as a prison sentence, therefore she’d have rendered one, she noted.

All three judges agreed that the probation, restitution and submitting a DNA sample orders rendered by the trial judge stand.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Port Alberni RCMP hold second bike registration event

Project 529 will be at Canadian Tire on Saturday, Nov. 17

Husky Gas Station robbed on Third Avenue

Port Alberni RCMP still searching for suspect

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port Alberni care homes benefit from funding to purchase new safety equipment

Echo Village and Fir Park Village will be receiving $32,500 each

Uchucklesaht Tribe purchases former Redford School

Property will be a “multi-use building” similar to The Thunderbird

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Most Read