KAMLOOPS — A former psychiatric nurse says he’s sorry for the damage he caused in a short-term crime spree, which included injuring four sheriffs when he tried to escape custody at the Kamloops courthouse last year.
Jonathan Allandale Dale Phillips, 39, pleaded guilty in Kamloops Supreme Court today, Sept. 24, to possession of stolen property, credit card fraud, escaping custody and other charges committed in Kamloops and Kelowna in October 2014.
Crown prosecutor Tim Livingston acknowledged Phillips had no previous record before "going off the deep end instead of sticking a toe in."
Phillips began the series of offences by first renting a pickup truck under someone else’s name on Aug. 31 last year. He then broke into the electrical room at the Lansdowne Village Shopping Centre, stole a set of master keys and returned later to enter a restricted area of the mall.
The keys were later found in the illegally rented pickup truck and Phillips was arrested in Merritt on a separate case where he was charged with possessing a stolen truck from a business. After Kamloops RCMP picked him up from Merritt, Livingston said Phillips talked to the officers driving him and said he didn’t feel badly about his criminal behaviour.
“(Phillips) told officers he didn't have remorse for large corporations and that anyone who stole from them shouldn’t be penalized because they have a lot of money,” Livingston said.
The accused was released on a promise to appear on Oct. 7 and within two hours, he returned to the Lansdowne strip mall he was prohibited from visiting and stole a jacket from the manager at the Cooper’s grocery store. Using the keys found in the pocket of the jacket, he stole the manager’s Nissan Titan pickup truck and drove it to Kelowna, Livingston said.
A week later, Kelowna RCMP officers investigating the theft of a $250,000 Fortis utility truck from Oliver traced Phillips to the Four Points Sheraton hotel near the Kelowna International Airport. After not responding to knocks on his door, Livingston said Phillips triggered the hotel’s fire alarm and exited his room covered ‘head to toe’ in water.
“It’s suspected a lighter was used to set the alarm off,” Livingston said.
'ARE WE GOING TO HAVE TO DEPLOY LETHAL FORCE HERE?'
Facing charges of fraud, theft, mischief and breaking and entering, Phillips was taken into custody and at one point brought to the Kamloops courthouse. Crown prosecutor Mariane Armstrong says a sheriff was bringing Phillips lunch when he pushed the door open, attempting an escape.
“Fortuitously there were three sheriffs in the booking-in area of the cell block and (they) gave him verbal commands to get down on the ground,” Armstrong said.
Ignoring the requests, Phillips pushed onwards. Four sheriffs were injured as they tried to gain control over him, using pepper spray and a baton.
“He was overpowering all of them,” Armstrong said. “At one point there was the thought ‘are we going to have to deploy lethal force here?’”
Armstrong, a prosecutor from Salmon Arm called in because of a conflict of interest with local lawyers, said Phillips was taken to Royal Inland Hospital where he was belly-chained.
Phillips' response: ‘I had to get out. I felt like a caged animal.’
Armstrong amended the charge of assault to resisting arrest after one of Phillips’ lawyers, Juan O’Quinn, said his client — a trained boxer — did not attack any of the four sheriffs involved.
‘THE TRAJECTORY OF YOUR LIFE WAS SERIOUSLY DIVERTED'
Both of Phillips’ lawyers attributed his behaviour, which they said was out of character, to a brain injury they believe he sustained after an assault at a nightclub on the Lower Mainland.
Sheldon Tate said the injury, coupled with an unrelated arthritis diagnosis, set Phillips back financially and caused him to lose his job.
“He received a double set-back,” Tate said. “Since he’s had the opportunity to speak with… professionals he’s gaining some insights into his behaviours."
Phillips addressed the court and said since his incident with the sheriffs he’s been deemed ‘high-risk’ and forced to remain in a segregated cell at the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.
"I’ve basically been locked in a room for a year,” he said. “There's been no rehabilitation whatsoever. I’ve paid my debt to society. I know I have."
Justice Heather Holmes agreed Phillips did his best to pursue rehabilitation while in custody and acknowledged his lack of a criminal record.
“The trajectory of your life was seriously diverted. You need to take charge of what’s left to you,” Holmes said. "It’s your responsibility to do with what you have and you have a great deal. I think you know that."
"The very number of your offences as well as the nature of the offences are extremely troubling. Were it not for the effort given to understand your situation, you would be looking at a longer sentence."
He was sentenced to time served and released on an 18-month probation order today and was ordered to submit a DNA sample for the national registry. Phillips is prohibited from owning guns for the next five years.
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