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Man gets five years after Coquitlam bank robbery

A man convicted of using an imitation firearm while robbing two banks last spring — including the HSBC on North Road — has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
A man convicted of using an imitation firearm while robbing two banks last spring — including the HSBC on North Road — has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

A man convicted of using an imitation firearm while robbing two banks last spring — including the HSBC on North Road — has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

The accused, who is referred to as DRZ in court documents, was the victim of notorious Oakalla prison guard Roderick MacDougall, who was sentenced to three years in the 1990s for sexual assault on prisoners.

Lawyer Adi Glouberman argued the assault, which took place in 1988 when DRZ was 17, was a mitigating factor in the recent bank robberies. DRZ has a long criminal history and has spent considerable time behind bars since his first stint in the Burnaby prison more than 20 years ago.

The accused launched a successful civil case against the province as a result of the abuse he suffered, which was wrapped up several years ago.

"I have heard in this case... that his time in jail was characterized by intense hostility towards correctional staff, which usually resulted in lengthy periods of difficulties for him inside and outside the institutional setting," St. Pierre said in his oral reasons for sentence. "DRZ has not done well since that time and the civil case recognizes that much of that can be attributed to the trauma that was experienced by him while he was in a custodial setting."

DRZ's latest arrest came as he was on conditional release from a six-year sentence he received for a string of robberies in 2004. St. Pierre noted that in the last few years the accused had been doing better, finding full-time work as a roofer.

However, on March 10, 2011, DRZ robbed the HSBC Bank on North Road with an imitation firearm. Two weeks later he committed the same offence at a CIBC bank in Langley.

On top of his five and a half year sentence DRZ must also submit a DNA sample and has received a lifetime firearms ban.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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