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17 months for Coquitlam rioter

Rioters in downtown Vancouver tipped cars, set them alight and looted stores after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final last June 15.  - BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO
Rioters in downtown Vancouver tipped cars, set them alight and looted stores after the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final last June 15.
— image credit: BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO

Ryan Dickinson was sentenced to 17 months in jail for participating in the Stanley Cup riot.

The 20-year-old Coquitlam resident is the first to plead guilty in the riot in downtown Vancouver last June following the Canucks' 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup final.

Dressed in red prison garb and white sneakers, Dickinson made no reaction when the sentence was read out. He looked briefly at his mother and sister before being led back into custody following the hearing at B.C. Provincial Court in Vancouver.

On the night of June 15, 2011 Dickinson was on bail for an earlier assault charge when he and a friend went to Vancouver to watch the hockey game. At about 8:30 p.m. Dickinson was part of a group of people who destroyed two unmarked police vehicles in the 700-block of Nelson Street.

At 9 p.m. he was captured on surveillance cameras outside the Black & Lee tuxedo store, where he threw a mannequin and then a newspaper box at the window.

In his reasons for sentencing Judge Malcolm MacLean said riots pose a serious threat to civil order and the incident last summer has had a significant impact on the city, its residents and businesses. The total financial cost of the riot is estimated at $3.8 million.

MacLean said Dickinson's behaviour "would no doubt have had an impact" on those around him and encouraged them to participate in the destruction that night.

Dickinson's actions must be considered in the overall context of the riot, MacLean added, particularly where innocent bystanders were terrorized. He cited patrons at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre who were locked inside for their safety, the staff and customers at Blenz who hid in the office while every single window outside was smashed, and the nearly 80 people who fled to the seventh floor of The Bay, fearing for their lives when fire alarms went off because of the cars set on fire just outside.

"A riot, by its very nature, is a serious threat to civil society, and this calls for a need to impose a sentence that will provide a meaningful deterrent to others," MacLean said.

He disagreed with defence lawyer Eric Warren's assertion that Dickinson was merely "caught up in the moment" and made some bad decisions.

"Mr. Dickinson's involvement was serious and involved a number of conscious decisions," MacLean continued, starting with his decision to go to Vancouver knowing it would breach his bail conditions.

"There are times when he could have walked away but did not," MacLean said, "demonstrating Mr. Dickinson's participation in the riot was persistent and deliberate."

MacLean took into account Dickinson's early guilty plea, his expression of remorse and his offer of restitution when he decided on the sentence.

However, MacLean noted Dickinson's criminal record, particularly his most recent conviction for assault causing bodily harm, was an "unsettling" case of serious violence.

Dickinson grew up in an unstable and dysfunctional family and has shown disregard for his parents' authority, the education system and for the law.

MacLean also noted defence's concern that, as a relatively small young man, a custodial sentence will be difficult for Dickinson.

MacLean sentenced Dickinson to 16 months for participating in a riot, less three and a half months for time served, and one month to be served consecutively for the breach of recognizance.

Dickinson will also serve two years of probation, during which time he must keep the peace and be of good behaviour, report to a probation officer and attend counselling or a training program as directed by his probation officer.

He must also abstain from possessing or consuming drugs or alcohol and he must seek and maintain employment.

 

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