Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Man sentenced in robbery case

JUSTICE officials have struck a deal in a violent carjacking case after the victim -- a married father from the suburbs -- was reluctant to testify against the drug-addicted sex trade worker and pimp who attacked him.
Crown attorney Raegan Rankin told court Tuesday the man initially lied to police about the circumstances of the September 2009 attack and has apparently kept the facts of the incident from loved ones.
"He is very happy not to have to testify. He was hoping not to have to come to court and tell family and friends what he did. This situation obviously went terribly wrong for him and he's embarrassed," said Rankin.
Keith Banman and his girlfriend, Denise Pashe, pleaded guilty to robbery with a weapon after the Crown dropped more serious charges of kidnapping. Banman, 30, also pleaded guilty to motor-vehicle flight from police and was given three years in prison.
Pashe, 26, had her sentence adjourned until later this spring. She remains in custody after recently breaching her bail conditions.
The 30-year-old victim was apparently on his way to work when he decided to solicit sex from Pashe, who was standing near the corner of Ellice Avenue and Arlington Street. He agreed to pay her $40 and was told by the woman to drive to a nearby secluded location. Banman was waiting there and quickly jumped inside the car, holding a knife to the man's throat.
The couple demanded he drive to a bank machine and withdraw some cash, then kicked him out of his GMC Sierra pickup truck and went on a high-speed ride through the inner city, court was told.
Police spotted the stolen vehicle several hours later and tried to pull it over. Banman sped away, blowing through several red lights and going as fast as 80 km/h before losing control and crashing into a tree near Notre Dame Avenue and Harriet Street. Banman and Pashe were taken to hospital for treatment of minor injuries, then held in custody and charged.
The victim first told police he was randomly attacked by two knife-wielding men who jumped into his car -- but later admitted the truth once Banman and Pashe explained how they met their victim. He briefly considered just letting his vehicle go and not even filing a report to spare himself the potential humiliation, said Rankin.
Banman and Pashe are parents of a five-year-old child and both have severe addictions to cocaine and alcohol, court was told. Both were high on the morning of the attack and wanted cash to get more drugs.
Banman has an extensive criminal record spanning more than a decade, including numerous convictions for theft, robbery and breaching court orders. He has also attended numerous programs over the years with little success, including anger management, drug and alcohol counselling and even a parenting course.

First of all, I don't think this couple should receive prison time, even though the crime they committed was serious. They are both parents of a young child, and have severe addictions. I realize that the man has been through numerous programs with little success, but I think that he needs more intensive treatment and help, to overcome these problems. The article does not state whether he attended those programs in prison or in the community. If in prison, they are not as successful or as intensive as the ones in the community. 

I think they both need more than just addictions counseling. Maybe they need to live in a residential treatment centre, receive employment and training assistance, etc. Obviously if the woman is a sex trade worker, she is not employed elsewhere. 

If I were the Judge, I would sentence each of them to a 2 year conditional sentence. It would involve attending a 9 month residential treatment facility for a period of time, taking courses on parenting and counseling to uncover the root causes of their addictions and problems. After treatment, I would order them to live in a halfway house so they could be reintegrated and build on their living skills and employment skills.   

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