The COVID-19 crisis is not a “get-out-of-jail-free card” for inmates to be released from prison, a B.C. judge has ruled.
In an April 17 decision, Judge Gregory Brown denied the release on bail of a man charged with fleeing from police in Abbotsford last month.
David Sean Anderson, 36, faces multiple charges after allegedly travelling at speeds of up to 200 km/h, running over a spike belt set up by police to stop him, and driving away on flat tires.
During a teleconference hearing on April 8, defence asked the court to consider “an innovative release plan” for Anderson due to the novel coronavirus pandemic that would include a cash deposit and 24-hour house arrest at his girlfriend’s home in Langley.
Brown said Anderson has an “extensive and unenviable” criminal record that includes multiple convictions for dangerous operation of a vehicle and operating a vehicle while disqualified.
In February, Anderson was given a sentence of time served and 18 months’ probation for operating a vehicle while disqualified, possession of stolen property over $5,000, fraud over $5,000, breach of undertaking, two break-and-enters and theft of a motor vehicle.
Brown said COVD-19 is a “valid factor” to consider when deciding whether someone should remain in prison, but rejected the proposed release plan for Anderson as it “cannot properly mitigate the risk to the public.”
“If a spike belt cannot immediately slow Mr. Anderson down, I do not think a release order will do so now,” he wrote.
Prisons across the country have been grappling with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Sixty-five inmates at B.C.’s Mission Institution have tested positive for the coronavirus and one inmate has died of COVID-19, making it the worst outbreak in a federal prison.View link »