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.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Man gets 7 years in violent home invasion -- should have gotten 3 years

A 12-year-old Winnipeg girl home alone from school with strep throat was terrorized by two armed, masked, drugged-out invaders who mistakenly targeted her West Kildonan residence because they thought it was a crack den, court was told Wednesday.

The victim was able to make a frantic call for help to her parents -- then watched helplessly as her stepfather beat police to the scene and was tied up, pistol-whipped, threatened with a drill and told he would be forced to have sex with the girl if he didn't comply.

"The facts here are absolutely terrifying," provincial court Judge John Guy said as details of the January 2009 incident emerged publicly for the first time.

Christopher Brisson, 33, pleaded guilty to his role in the attack and was sentenced to seven years in prison, in addition to more than 16 months of time already served, which was given double credit. The Crown had been seeking eight more years, the defence just three more years. A co-accused, Richard Petrowski, remains before the courts.
Brisson claims he was high on crystal meth and only planning to do a break-and-enter into a Perth Avenue home he thought was empty and would be filled with drugs, prompting his lawyer to argue this wasn't a "classic home invasion" case. But the judge disagreed, questioning why Brisson went to the residence wearing a Halloween mask and armed with a large knife and pellet gun, which looked like a real firearm.
Brisson submitted a written letter of apology to the court, and spoke briefly Wednesday.

"It disturbs me greatly that there was a child there. It breaks my heart for what happened. It kills me," said Brisson, who is the father of a 15-year-old boy. "I can only imagine what it would be like for him to go through something like that. It really is a tragedy what happened."
The judge asked why he didn't just turn around and leave the home if he was so concerned. Instead, Brisson and his co-accused pointed the gun at the girl's head, made her drop to the floor and terrified her so much that she soiled herself after being told she couldn't use the bathroom, court was told.

The incident began around 2 p.m. when the girl called her stepfather to report that two men were knocking on her door, yelling "Winnipeg police." The stepfather was nearby and said he was on his way and not to answer. The girl then called her mother, who was still on the phone when the intruders kicked down a side door. The mother heard the line go dead and immediately called 911.

"I'm scared," the girl repeatedly told the men, who began rummaging through the house grabbing various items and electronics. Moments later, her stepfather stormed in. He was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and beaten with the butt end of the pellet gun -- all while the girl looked on. The intruders then bound his ankles and wrists with rope, but the stepfather was able to wriggle his hands loose. That prompted Brisson to grab a drill from the home, plug it in and move toward the man.
"He threatened to drill his legs," said Crown attorney Brent Davidson. The intruders also ripped a chain and ring off the man.

Police then arrived on scene, triggering a lengthy foot chase that ended on Scotia Street near the banks of the Red River. Both accused were arrested and have been in custody ever since. The stepfather suffered numerous cuts and bruises, while the girl wasn't physically injured. Both have experienced severe emotional trauma and weren't in court for Wednesday's sentencing.
No victim impact statements were submitted.
"The violence here was gratuitous," said Davidson. He called the rape threat "an instrument of terror" used by the accused.

Brisson has an extensive criminal record, which includes a six-year sentence for a violent gunpoint robbery of a Winnipeg jewelry store in 2001. He is the brother of well-known Manitoba boxer Chad Brisson, who was once Canada's super-lightweight champion.
Brisson also made local headlines last year when he refused to testify against two longtime Hells Angels accused of attacking him with a hammer, which prompted prosecutors to drop charges against the gang associates. Brisson was cited for contempt of court for his silence but has yet to be sentenced.

Violent home invader gets 10 years
A Winnipeg man who beat and bound a West Kildonan homeowner and terrorized his young daughter has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Christopher Michael Brisson pleaded guilty to one count of housebreak entry and committing robbery.
Court heard Brisson and another man broke into a Perth Avenue home on Feb. 2, 2009, and falsely announced themselves as police officers. A 12-year-old girl, the lone occupant in the house at the time, was on the phone with her parents when the men stormed in.
Brisson and his partner were looking for drugs and money but had the wrong house, court was told.
The girl’s father called police and went to the home. When he arrived, Brisson and his partner tied the man up, beat him with the butt of a gun and threatened to use a drill on his kneecap.
Brisson and his partner were ransacking the house when police arrived and chased them out the back door. They were arrested on Scotia Street, where police seized a knife and an air gun from them.
Brisson received double credit for time served, reducing his remaining sentence to seven years.
Co-accused Richard Karl Petrowski remains before the courts.
Brisson made the news last December when he was charged with contempt of court after he refused to testify against two Hells Angels accused of assaulting him.
Brisson’s refusal to testify resulted in the Crown staying charges against Sean Wolfe and Corey MacInnis.
Wolfe remains in custody in connection with a massive police sting targeting organized crime.

I agree with the defence lawyer, that this man should have only received 3 more years in prison. This was a violent home invasion, this man has a criminal record and is a danger to the public, therefore, I feel that prison time is warranted. However, I would like to know more of the mitigating factors of this offender and more information about his background life, such as any hardships he experienced. I feel that 7 years is too harsh, considering the amount of time this man has already spent in custody. Longer prison sentences can increase rates of re-offending because of the negative environment, influences and prison subculture and can decrease the likelihood of successful reintegration because the inmate becomes dependent and institutionalized by the strict and controlled aspects of prison life. Also, offenders are given little assistance when released and are often not rehabilitated. 

I would have sentenced this man to an additional 3 years in prison, with double time credit. I would have him participate in violence prevention programs, and substance abuse treatment.  

1 comment:

  1. This is a perfect example of why we should have Conceal Carry laws in Canada.