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.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Carjacker who ran over woman gets 3 years

A man who comes from a family of habitual car thieves has been given a three-year jail term for the violent carjacking of a woman in the city's North End last fall.
The 22-year-old pleaded guilty to robbery during an afternoon provincial court hearing in Winnipeg on Monday.
CBC News is not identifying the man in order to report on his extensive youth criminal record, as well as those of underage members of his family involved in stealing cars and driving them dangerously.
Susan Everett, 43, was dragged, pummelled and run over by the man, who brazenly stole her idling car when she left it unattended in the back lane behind her home on Sept. 4, 2009.
'My body has been seriously injured as well as my heart and my head.'—Susan Everett
When the man jumped into Everett's new Pontiac Vibe and began driving away, the woman reached into the driver's side window and grabbed onto the car's steering wheel to try and stop him from driving off.
Court heard on Monday that Everett's feet were protruding from the window as the car sped away.
Despite the woman's pleas for the driver to stop, the man sped off. He punched Everett twice in the face as she clung to the car and dragged her about 60 metres before running over her leg when she let go of the wheel and fell into the street.
At the time she was run over, the car was travelling at about 60 km/h, court heard.
Everett suffered a number of scrapes, bruises and abrasions, and has been unable to work in the months since the incident occurred, court heard.
"My body has been seriously injured as well as my heart and my head," she said in a victim impact statement read in court.
Everett said her peace of mind has been "ripped away," even though she and her husband have spent $1,000 on extra security measures at their home.
"I get a pit in my stomach every time I turn down my alley," she told Judge Kathlyn Mary Curtis.
"I'm very angry this has happened to me. My husband and I live a quiet life," Everett said.
The man drove the car to an area outside Winnipeg where it was recovered and eventually returned to Everett. The robber was arrested on Sept. 5 and has been behind bars ever since.

'Bad day' triggered violence

According to the man's lawyer, he was staying with relatives just a few houses away from Everett's home and woke up late for work after drinking alcohol the night before.
After he got into a heated argument with his aunt, he left the house "in a huff, quite upset," Greg Hawrysh said.
He saw the running vehicle and jumped into it on "impulse," Hawrysh said.
The man is sorry for what happened after that, the lawyer told court.
"He wants to be a better person," Hawrysh said. "He doesn't want to hurt people anymore — he doesn't want to hurt himself anymore."
'Explaining that it was a really bad day isn't good enough.'—Judge Kathlyn Mary Curtis
Curtis was told that as a teenager in Surrey, B.C., the man was convicted of a number of auto-theft related offences along with possession of stolen property and dangerous driving.
The judge said she didn't buy the man's excuse for the "terrible thing" he did.
"It doesn't cut it," Curtis said. "Explaining that it was a really bad day isn't good enough."
The man was given double-time credit for the nine months spent in custody after his arrest, meaning he has 18 months left to serve. Curtis also ordered him to serve a three-year probation term after he is released.
In a short address to the court, the man said Everett doesn't have to be afraid of him and that he has no plans to bother her again.
"I feel terrible. I'm sorry," the man said.
Curtis suggested the robber's words rang hollow.
"I don't know how much comfort that is to her," the judge said.

Relatives known for car theft

Although he has a different surname, the man's cousins are known in the justice system as the most prolific car thieves in Winnipeg's history.
They are linked to a number of high-profile stolen vehicle incidents and have garnered more than 180 auto theft-related convictions.
The man's 17-year-old cousin was arrested in December and charged with manslaughter in connection to a fatal crash that killed 47-year-old Zdzislaw Andrzejczak, a city mechanic. He remains in custody pending trial.
Andrzejczak died shortly after a stolen 2005 Hummer H2 drove through a stop sign in the North End and slammed into his small car.
Another male relative was Manitoba's first teen auto thief to be given an adult sentence by a judge for his crimes.
Some of the man's cousins have been sued by Manitoba Public Insurance to recoup losses incurred from their auto-theft-related crimes, court records show.
More than $165,000 in civil court judgments have been awarded to MPI against two cousins. Other claims against additional family members remain before the courts.

A Winnipeg woman says she’s afraid to go outdoors after she was beaten outside her home trying to prevent a man from stealing her car.
“I am very angry this happened to me,” the woman told court at a sentencing hearing Monday. “My husband and I live a quiet life. We worked hard and enjoyed spending time around the house and yard. Now I’m afraid to open the door, let alone go out.”
The woman said she and her husband spent thousands of dollars on home security following the September 2009 carjacking. She now carries a personal alarm wherever she goes.
“This incident has wounded me physically, but the emotional scars will take far longer to heal,” said the woman, who told court she has not returned to work since the incident.
Andrew Alexander Slivka, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and was sentenced to three years in prison.
Slivka said the woman has nothing to fear from him.
“I feel real terrible that she lives in fear,” he said. “I’m not the kind of person to retaliate or do anything ... I want her to recover. I don’t want her to be scared.”
Court heard Slivka jumped in the woman’s Pontiac Vibe as it sat running behind the garage of her Aberdeen Avenue home. As Slivka started to drive away, the woman reached in through the driver’s door window, grabbed the steering wheel and pleaded with Slivka to stop.
Slivka attempted to shake her off the vehicle. When she wouldn’t release her grip on the steering wheel, he punched her two times in the head. Court heard Slivka was driving 60 km/h when the woman, fearing for her life, let go of the car and tumbled to the road.
Police arrested Slivka several days later at a Main Street doughnut shop.
Defence lawyer Greg Hawrysh said Slivka was staying at his aunt’s home on Aberdeen Avenue where the two had been involved in a “heated argument.” Still angry, Slivka left the house, saw the woman’s car and decided to steal it “on impulse,” Hawrysh said.
Slivka told Judge Mary Curtis he had “a really bad day.”
“That doesn’t cut it ... that just isn’t good enough,” Curtis said. “You were lucky the injuries weren’t worse than they were.”
Slivka received double credit of 18 months time served. Curtis sentenced him to an additional three years probation.

I would like to know more about this man's childhood background and other mitigating circumstances. Coming from a family of car thieves, is definitely a major mitigating factor. When surrounded by criminals, I doubt that this man was taught morals, guidelines or values as a child and teen. He was surrounded by negative role models, who clearly had a negative influence on him. I do not believe that this man should have been sentenced to 1.5 years prison. This act was impulsive and I do not believe that prison will address the root causes of his criminal behaviour. It will likely further entrench him in the criminal lifestyle and have a negative impact on him. I believe that he should have been sentenced to a 2 year conditional sentence and 3 years probation, with conditions to participate in programming, community service, restitution, etc. 

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