Shawn Lamb: the record, for the record

(Chris Procaylo/Winnipeg Sun/QMI)


In recent days, many have requested the publication of accused Winnipeg serial killer Shawn Lamb’s extensive record of criminal court convictions in full, given his case has raised so many questions about chronic offending.

I present it here, in full, for the public record.

Entries listed note the court centre where the convictions were entered, the charge and the resulting sentence imposed.

Background on what you’re about to read below can be found here, here, here, and here. And here.

  • 1976/08/18 Toronto

Attempt Fraud

Conditional Discharge, 1 yr probation

  • 1976/11/02 Barrie 

Theft over $200

Theft under $200

Breach probation

Break, enter and commit offence

6 months jail on the theft over, with lesser periods noted concurrent on other charges.

  • 1979/04/13 Barrie

Break, enter and theft

18 months jail, the sentence was appealed and reduced to 9 months

  • 1979/05/30 Barrie

Break, enter and theft

6 months jail consecutive to sentence already being served

  • 1979/09/25 Barrie

Possession of a narcotic

15 days jail

  • 1979/11/27 Guelph

Escape lawful custody

9 months consecutive to sentence already being served, later appealed down to time in custody.

  • 1979/12/14 Port Hope

Mischief

30 days concurrent with sentence already being served

  • 1980/07/07 Barrie

Drug possession

Possess for the purpose of trafficking x2

9 months and probation on possession, 2 years on the trafficking counts.

  • 1980/12/21 Winnipeg 

Armed robbery

Assault peace officer x2

2 years on the robbery, 6 months on each of the assault PO counts (consecutive)

  • 1984-04-18 Winnipeg

Assault causing bodily harm

5 months jail

  • 1984-11-29 Winnipeg

Theft under $200

1 month jail

  • 1985-02-28 Winnipeg

Assault cause bodily harm

Mischief

6 months on the assault, 1 month concurrent on mischief. Assault sentence was hiked on appeal to 12 months to be followed by 18 months of probation.

  • 1987-03-11 Barrie

Assault x2

Assault

Fail comply with bail conditions

6 months consecutive on the first two assaults, 3 months each on the other assault and bail breach, consecutive.

  • 1987-08-20 Guelph

Attempted obstruction of justice

Assault

Fail comply with bail conditions

Fail attend court (in Calgary, Alberta)

Theft over $1,000

Fail comply with probation order

5 months less a day on each charge, concurrent

  • 1988-06-06 Chilliwack, British Columbia

Assault

30 days and 2 years of probation

  • 1988-08-05 Vancouver

Care and control of a vehicle while over .08

$600 fine and 40 days time in custody noted

  • 1989-04-19 Edmonton

Mischief

$250 fine and 10 days time in custody noted

  • 1989-11-15 Edmonton

Utter threats

Possession of a weapon

1 day jail on each charge.

  • 1990-01-29 Edmonton

Uttering a forged document

30 days jail

  • 1990-07-12 Edmonton

Theft under $1,000

Obstruct peace officer

$200 and 15 days time served on the theft; $50 and three days time served on the obstruct

  • 1990-07-16 Edmonton

Theft over $1,000

3 months

  • 1991-02-21 Edmonton (RCMP High Prairie arrest)

Theft under $1,000 x2

Fail to appear

Fail to attend court

Fail bail condition

$200 fine on thefts plus 20 days jail, $100 fine on fail appear plus 10 days, $100 fine plus 10 days on attend court breach, $200 plus 20 days on bail breach

  • 1991-03-13 Slave Lake

Assault

5 months jail 

  • 1991-08-01 Edmonton

Theft under $1,000

$50 fine and 10 days TIC

  • 1992-02-06 Slave Lake (Slave Lake RCMP arrest)

Sexual assault

4 years prison plus a 5 year firearms prohibition

  • 1992-06-08 Innisfail 

Fail to comply with probation order

30 days concurrent with prison sentence

1993-06-17

PAROLED

1994-06-29

PAROLE VIOLATION, RECOMMITTED TO PRISON

1995-11-28

STATUTORY RELEASE

1995-11-28

STAT RELEASE VIOLATION, RECOMMITTED TO PRISON

  • 1996-07-05 Edmonton

Assault

9 months

  • 1997-07-09 Edmonton

Fail to appear

Theft under $5,000

1 day on fail to appear, $150 fine and three days TIC on theft

  • 1997-12-19 Edmonton

Break, enter and theft

4 month conditional sentence and 1 year probation

  • 1998-09-17 Winnipeg

Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000

Public mischief

3 months on each charge consecutive plus two years of probation

  • 1999-06-23 Winnipeg

Utter forged document

Possession of property obtained by crime

30 days jail and a restitution order

  • 2000-01-14 Winnipeg

Utter forged document

Possess property obtained by crime over $5,000

Utter forged document

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Fail to comply with bail condition

45-day intermittent sentence on first 2 charges, 30-days intermittent on next two, 1 day on the bail breach

  • 2000-04-06 Winnipeg

Unlawfully at large

30 days consecutive to sentence already being served

  • 2000-09-11 Winnipeg

Unlawfully in a dwelling house

Assault cause bodily harm

Fail to comply with probation order

2 years jail and two years of probation

  • 2001-09-11 Winnipeg

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Fraud over $5,000

1 year jail on each charge concurrent

2001-09-22 Winnipeg

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Fraud over $5,000

1 year concurrent with sentence already running

  • 2002-03-26 Winnipeg

Utter threats

Time served of 68 days

  • 2003-04-25 Winnipeg

Theft under $5,000

Utter threats

Assault peace officer

Time served of 6 months and 7 days

  • 2004-12-24 Winnipeg

Fail to comply with bail order x2

Fail to appear

Time served of 45 days on each charge concurrent

  • 2005-06-30 Winnipeg

Utter forged document

Break, enter and theft

Theft under $5,000

Theft over $5,000

Posess. property obtained by crime under $5,000

12 months jail with 11 months TIC noted and 3 years probation

  • 2006-08-31 Winnipeg

Assault peace officer

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Time served of 115 days

  • 2007-09-07 Winnipeg

Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000

Theft under $5,000

Posession of stolen credit card

6 months jail and 274 days of pre-sentence custody noted

  • 2008-11-07 Winnipeg

Carry concealed weapon

Possess property obtained by crime

Time served of 205 days

  • 2009-01-16 Winnipeg

Attempted Robbery

18 months conditional sentence, 3 years probation, supervised

  • 2010-05-26 Winnipeg

Possession of property obtained by crime — motor vehicle

Forgery x9

Theft under $5,000

Robbery with violence x2

13.5 months at double credit (27 months) noted, 19 months going forward AND the resumption of the 2009 conditional sentence order and the 3 years supervised probation.

-30-


The Crime Scene’s first-ever Golden Crown award

(The Golden Crown)

In homage to my Twitter pal @Tombrodbeck of the Winnipeg Sun, I give my faithful followers the first-ever installment of what will be now be known as “the Golden Crown award” — handed out to some of the best examples of Manitoba Prosecutors trying to deter and denounce unlawful conduct.

This illustrious award’s first recipient comes after a court hearing today where a Winnipeg mom of nine was spared jail after she drunkenly crashed her car and abandoned her five-year-old daughter inside, only to be arrested minutes later in her home, passed out on the couch and with another child screaming at the top of its lungs in the background.

Two hours after the crash, the woman — who has no prior record — blew a breathalyzer reading of .17 — more than twice the legal limit — and was charged with child abandonment and impaired driving (there were no injuries serious enough to bump it up to impaired causing bodily harm). The charge was referred to today in court as “Impaired Driving Simplicitor” — a charge that somehow nets everybody a fine upon a first conviction for it, at least according to one top Manitoba judge.

And here’s why Manitoba Crown attorney Lisa Cupples is this illustrious award’s first recipient.

She asked Judge Ray Wyant to send the woman to jail for the crime. She didn’t say how long, just that she be locked up to send her — and others — a message.

She even presented case law to back up why she should be locked up as a way to denounce not only her conduct — but deter others from drinking and driving. They’re two of the main sentencing principles enunciated by Parliament.

And what’s more, former Provincial Court Chief Judge Ray Wyant almost did send her to the clink — but ultimately ruled that it wouldn’t be in society’s (or the offender’s) interest to do so, for various reasons (see below).

But without a doubt, Cupples’s request clearly had Wyant thinking — and thinking out loud at that. He told her in his experience, no prosecutor had ever proposed such a thing.

Here’s his comments to her on her argument for jail, verbatim, from today’s hearing:

I have to say it’s the first time that I can recall — not necessarily a bad thing — but the first time I’ve heard a Crown attorney, at least in my experience, ask for jail on an impaired simplicitor where there were no injuries at least that justified the laying or the proceeding of impaired causing bodily harm.

I have to say I’ve seen countless cases — far too many sadly — of people driving at high rates of speed and blitzed, hitting cars and smashing whatever and — I appreciate you don’t speak for others — but I don’t think I ever recall anything but the Crown saying, ‘well take into account the seriousness of this, but because it’s a first offence, she should receive a fine.”

[Snip … to later in his reasons]

I commend the Crown for bringing that factor to the court’s attention. Often times we may get into the situation where we just have standard sentences for certain offences. ‘First time impaired simplicitor? — gotta be a fine.’

And a range of fine perhaps dependent on the existence or lack of aggravating circumstances: ‘what was the (breathalyzer) reading?,’ ‘Was there property damage?,’ ‘Was there a high rate of speed?,’ ‘Was there the potential for injuries?’ — That kind of thing, where the person has no record — and I think the Crown’s position reflects the fact that each individual case has to be looked at seriously, and that just because it’s an impaired simplicitor and just because the person has no prior record that doesn’t automatically mean that they get a fine.

And it shouldn’t mean that.

[Snip …]

Drinking and driving is rampant and it doesn’t appear that we’ve been able to abate the carnage on our highways in spite of the education and in spite of the increased penalties.

I think we all know that if the police were probably given more resources to go out and nab impaired drivers, we’d see a lot more in here and that’s sadly something I think we all see too often.

Wyant then went on to give his rationale for why jail in this case was inappropriate (mom had just gotten all her kids back, was 1 year sober, had been actively participating in rehab and AA etc.).

But he complemented Cupples for raising jail as an option.

As we all should.

Ms. Cupples, keep up the good work. People notice.

-30-

Major crimes: a week in review V

Jessica Bondar (CBC)

Nothing like starting the week with a quick re-hash of the last. We all have traditions, tho.

First, a positive, from the University of Winnipeg’s Uniter:

Partnership to provide legal assistance to low-income families

The University of Winnipeg has announced that, in partnership with the University of Manitoba, they have opened the Legal Help Centre in the MacNamara North Building on Spence Street. The centre, staffed by University of Winnipeg Global College and criminal justice students, students from the University of Manitoba’s faculties of Law and Social Work and volunteer lawyers, is part of an initiative to provide legal assistance to disadvantaged members of the community. People with household incomes under $50,000 a year will have access to free legal advice, and the centre also offers drop-in services and workshops.

This, given the area the U of Dub exists in, is a great idea. Even from the position that legal advice will be offered to those in the area, many of whom would likely meet the guidelines for access.

2] Those interested about learning more about Gladue courts can, thanks to the Robson Hall Law Department, watch Jonathan Rudin explain them and what they’ve been able to do for Toronto. The future is now. Check it out.

3] The Province finally announced a public inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, just when one thought there was no way that was going to happen with an election looming. Even the fine print is promising, with the judge overseeing it being given a sweeping mandate to investigate whatever he sees fit. No dates announced, but justice Ted Hughes’s report must be complete in just over a year from now. Another Sinclair matter (an inquest) — that of Brian Sinclair — is still pending.

4] A number of suspects in one of the Winnipeg Police Service’s recent major drug investigations have been rearrested and directly indicted into court for trial. This case — just by virtue of the characters involved — is very interesting. More to come.

5] Convicted sex-offender Kenneth Rhodes appeals his conviction. Claims wrongful conviction. Grinding of teeth can be heard all over the country. I’m a big fan of Christie Blatchford.

6] Kim Bolan of the Vancouver Sun has a very interesting feature on the underworld politik of cross-border crime and why some are choosing to face justice in the U.S. instead of fighting the charges. Seems those big-ticket jail terms do make an impact.

7] The winner of last week’s story containing the most heartless allegations… But this one’s equally as bad.

-30-

The daily deal(s), Wednesday:

Samantha Zeemel (Facebook)

Two killers, each offered plea deals today without Manitoba Justice stating any reasons as to why.

Case #1) Nicole Redhead suffocates and kills her abused baby daughter Jaylene and is charged with second-degree murder. The abuse and killing happens while she’s staying at a North End treatment centre, but no staff ever called police. It was Redhead’s incarcerated boyfriend who called 911. The girl was, by accounts, savagely beaten.

Case history: After a preliminary inquiry, Judge Mary-Kate Harvie rules Redhead should be tried for manslaughter given the evidence the Crown presented. The Crown fights for the reinstatement of the murder charge [and virtual certainty of greater punishment] and wins.

But then on Wednesday (today), Redhead pleads out to manslaughter, which carries no mandatory sentence.

No reason is given.

Case #2) Jason McDowell shoots his girlfriend Samantha Zeemel twice, in the head and the face after a cocaine binge in an East St. Paul home.

[UPDATE]: I should say alleged binge because he went on the run for a bit after the shooting and there was no real way to tell how intoxicated he was at the time.

Case history: Over the life of the file, McDowell and his lawyers try to quash the first-degree murder charge in favour of manslaughter, but the judge says no, goes halfway and allows a second-degree murder trial to go ahead.

But, like Redhead, the Crown allows him to plead to manslaughter at the last minute and he’s handed a 12-year sentence. No parole eligibility, no mandatory supervision for life despite the nature of the crime.

Again, no reason for the plea deal is given, or is at least stated in either The Sun, Free Press or CTV which reported thus:

McDowell had originally been charged with first-degree murder. That charge was later dropped to second-degree murder, before the charge was lowered once more to manslaughter in a plea deal.

[UPDATE:] Freep reporting:

The Crown agreed to drop a more serious charge of second-degree murder, which carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years. They cited his impairment as the main issue.

Not to beat a dead horse, but at the time of the shooting, RCMP believed there was enough evidence to support the most serious Criminal Code charge, and likely a Manitoba Justice Crown had to sign off on it, or was at least consulted prior to it being laid.

I can understand that a judge may see it differently and lessen the charge, but that was — despite McDowell’s lawyer’s fighting it — second-degree murder.

But in the end, there’s a plea to manslaughter.

-30-

You have the right to remain silent. Not a lawyer.

Further to today’s earlier post, one of — if not my favorite — reporters, Kirk Makin of the Globe and Mail explains why the SCC was so keen to look at a suspect’s rights during interrogation.

What I’ve always found interesting about police interrogations is how in their efforts to get at the truth, police can lie their faces off to a suspect.

Quoth Makin:

They said that suspects can easily become confused when they are confronted by police with bits and pieces of real or fictional evidence. Believing there is no hope, they may be induced to give up their right to silence.

“The right to counsel – and by extension, its meaningful exercise, cannot be made to depend on an interrogator’s opinion as to its opportunity or utility,” they said.

In the first case, the Court majority ruled that self-incriminating statements from Trent Terrence Sinclair, who was being interrogated about an alcohol-induced killing, were admissible at his trial.

If you’re planning on, or perhaps think you’re going to wind up on the wrong side of an interrogation (as I did, to a degree — it’s no fun, believe me), read Makin’s article to bone up on what you can expect from the law of the land when you’re in that little room at your neighbourhood police station.

PS – the 600 plus comments on the Globe/Makin article are fascinating, and virtually all of them say the same thing: Shut the hell up. And, then, generally speaking, you have to tell police your name, address and show ID. That’s it.

The rest is gravy to them.

Consider yourselves warned. 😉

UPDATE: Another of my faves, Brian Lilley of Sun Media has also written on the SCC’s decision, which must have caused no end of internal debate.

“Let the system do its work”

 

Manitoba Law Courts building

 

The headline of this post is what Rose McLeod says she heard when she phoned around in an effort to get her mentally-ill husband, Joe, sprung from the Remand Centre.

I feel for her, and him. He must have been scared out of his wits being in there.

But the case is intriguing, and I’d bet to many on the inside of the system, deeply troubling on a few levels.

No person is above the law.

It’s a fundamental principle of justice that the law must be uniformly applied to  everyone in society.

The administration of justice must be above political influence and the whims of the public and the press (whose views are so often looked upon by justice officials with a kind of contempt, I personally feel)

Let’s look at the facts of the McLeod case as they’ve become known:

In early September, a disoriented Joe McLeod pushes his wife, who calls police because she doesn’t know what else to do. Police arrest and charge him with assault causing bodily harm.

For some reason, police chose to detain him, perhaps over concerns for the safety of his wife and maybe the fact he has nowhere else to go that would keep him away from her (she’s a named complainant, don’t forget).

Within my understanding of WPS domestic-violence policy, the officers attending the call had no discretion but to arrest him.

He’s sent to the Remand Centre, where he’s held in a medical ward, away from general population.

On Sept. 8, Joe McLeod make his first court appearance.

His case is remanded 11 times. He appears in courtroom 304 – the domestic-violence bail court – 3 times, but fails to make a bail application.

His wife, worried sick, ramps up her efforts to try and explain the situation.

“Let the system do its work,” she says everyone told her.

Finally, the Liberal party of Manitoba, through its leader Jon Gerrard — a doctor —  saw that holding a press conference to highlight McLeod’s situation was the best way to accomplish two things: Help Rose McLeod in a troubling situation, and, at the same time, criticize the NDP government, which as a matter of routine, is beyond cagy when it comes to public accountability on the justice file.

Headlines blare and the WRHA (???) is held up to talk about/explain the issue to reporters. Since when does the health authority have discretion to comment on criminal justice cases?

Reporters scratch their heads as to why, but the story continues.

The justice minister is nowhere to be found and requests to speak with him are declined.

Political pressure is applied and magnifies the plight of this one mentally-ill man.

Friday — two days after the Liberal press conference — Judge Sandy Chapman sets him free on bail so he can go live at a care home that was hastily arranged for him by health officials.

The Crown (which had the discretion to consented to his bail weeks ago if it so chose) did not oppose his release.

In effect, the bail hearing was a completely unnecessary bit of show.

Note, however, that the file changed hands from junior to senior prosecutor by Friday.

The charge against McLeod remains, and will no doubt be stayed down the road before it ever gets before a judge for a hearing. That’s my bet.

The McLeod case has me thinking a number of concerning things about the nature of justice in Manitoba.

  1. Either the police who arrested him and had him detained were inexperienced,  OR there’s more to what happened than Rose is telling people OR they were hamstrung by the WPS’s ‘mandatory arrest’ policy in DV cases (that’s arrest, not detain, mind you), [NOTE: see comments below for a great explanation of how it works…] OR
  2. The Remand Centre has no intake protocol or discretion with Manitoba Justice to flag cases of concern to the Crown…OR
  3. If you make a big enough stink in the press you can skirt the #1 notion of the justice system (that it applies equally to all — you have to “let the system do its work” —) and get fast-tracked to the front of the line for health care services OR,
  4. S**t happens, mistakes get made, OR,
  5. You fill in the blank.
Rose McLeod was told to “let the system do its work,” but found that to get results, she had no choice but to work the system.
  • What about the next time this happens?
  • How come one press conference and a hue and cry in the media can get nearly-immediate results or action from a system that’s supposed to be above responding to such things?
  • How many other accused persons with Alzheimer’s or Schizophrenia or other mental illnesses are behind bars or locked in medical wards of hospitals when they should be — as the McLeod case shows — getting care?
  • Why do my legal sources — people working on the front-lines of the criminal justice system every day — tell me that 7-day mental health assessments ordered by a court for bail purposes routinely take 5-6 weeks to prepare?
  • Why are there only two doctors in Manitoba currently doing these assessments, along with a range of other duties?
  • How can any WRHA official use the excuse of “the case is before the courts, and therefore we can’t comment” ever again?
  • Where is the mental health court that former Attorney General Dave Chomiak promised Manitobans?

Brodbeck’s take on Allan’s death

More than a week after he died, Mike Allan's death is still under scrutiny.

Yesterday’s Winnipeg Sun included two items about the Mike Allan homicide, despite the fact there were two new, and very violent homicides late last week.

It shows that the circumstances surrounding Allan’s death and the person accused of killing him need closer scrutiny.

One of the items was a letter to the editor that somehow blames the National Parole Board for letting Mary Ellen Young out on the street — even though it was the NPB that squashed her statutory release and ordered her to serve her entire prison sentence.

The board did what many Manitoba judges did not do, which is well-documented here in prior posts. So I’m disregarding that.

Tom Brodbeck, however, uses the circumstances of Allan’s death to call for changes to the parole, statutory release and bail provision mechanisms currently in place.

What’s a life worth? – Brodbeck column

For those who don’t want to click, the nuts and bolts of the column are found in a few short paragraphs toward the end:

I don’t care if the police-reported crime rate falls 50% in a single year. I still want the feds to ensure repeat, violent offenders like Thomas are off the streets.

And if that means building more jails and mental health facilities to achieve that goal, then so be it.

What was Mr. Allan’s life worth? Was his life and the lives of other victims of violent crime worth enough to build more jails?

I would like the hug-a-thug crowd to explain to the victims of violent crime why they believe it’s a bad idea to build more institutions to keep dangerous, repeat offenders like Thomas off the street.

We need bail reform, we need parole reform, we need to eliminate statutory release and we need to vastly improve our long-term offender laws.

All this is well put, but for me, I’m more worried about what the case really says about the effectiveness of the provincial probation system and bail-supervision programs.

These are all mechanisms for offenders to try and ‘get right’ — or at the very least, find out what’s wrong — and they failed miserably in this case.

I’d point out to Brodbeck that it wasn’t until Thomas served her first federal prison term in ’06 that her schizophrenia was clinically diagnosed.

We have the feds to thank for that — discovering a key piece of information that wasn’t offered to provincial Judge Mary Curtis at Thomas’ June 23 bail hearing where Thomas was last freed on bail.

In the end, I guess it comes down to the fact that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want it.

But, along with what I’ve stated above, the circumstances of Allan’s death really show a fundamental flaw with the bail system: the lack of information sharing between law-enforcement agencies, be it the police, probations, corrections – whatever.

A Crown attorney rushing to manage a massive — and they are massive — daily bail docket should have everything at her fingertips that she needs to be able to tell the presiding judge about the history and background of an accused.

That’s not happening, and I believe because of that the stage was set for what happened to Allan.

My biggest worry in this case, and I’m sure it’s shared by Allan’s family, is that the suspect, given her long history of violence, mental-health issues and substance abuse problems will make a plea deal to a lesser charge.

We need to improve the quality of information our prosecutors get about offenders before we worry — as Brodbeck does — about the larger issues of reform.

It’s as simple as that.