Kamloops man avoids jail time after robbing four stores at knifepoint | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops man avoids jail time after robbing four stores at knifepoint

Ian Stefan McPherson was addicted to crack cocaine when he committed the robberies.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / RCMP
July 16, 2020 - 2:12 PM

A Kamloops man responsible for a string of robberies was given a suspended sentence and three years of probation today. The COVID-19 pandemic and his recent cancer diagnosis played a part in the Supreme Court sentencing.

Ian Stefan McPherson, 46, was facing four counts of robbery after brandishing a knife at four Kamloops businesses within 30 hours in 2019. He pleaded guilty in January to one of the four counts and the Crown stayed the other three.

Court heard that on April 15, 2019, McPherson showed up at various Kamloops convenience stores armed with a large kitchen knife. There was surveillance videos showing McPherson without his face covered and in a distinctive Vancouver Canucks shirt. He was located, identified and arrested following his final robbery, which took place at the Parkcrest Neighbourhood Store in Brocklehurst.

After the arrest, McPherson was released on bail. He was placed on house arrest, although he was able to leave with his partner and under other circumstances like counselling appointments. The court heard he has been compliant with all conditions of his house arrest.

READ MORE: Kamloops man accused of four robberies released on bail

Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg said today, July 16, the three robbery charges were stayed because a guilty plea was entered on count four, which involved a robbery at an Esso gas station where he stole around $800. For that, Wiberg asked for a one year jail sentence followed by probation.

McPherson’s defence lawyer Daniel McNamee told the court of the changes in his client’s life, both mentally and physically. After being sober for more than a year, McPherson’s family members have seen a change in him and wrote to the court that he is now a different person.

McNamee said McPherson was recently diagnosed with stage three colon cancer and has been receiving chemotherapy for the past three months. He has frequent doctors appointments and faces at least six months of a compromised immune system as a result, something McNamee argued should be considered to either avoid or postpone a jail sentence.

READ MORE: Kamloops RCMP search for serial robber brandishing knife 

Justice Leonard Marchand said McPherson’s current circumstances are hard to compare to past robbery cases.

“It’s unlikely that there's going to be other offenders that we're going to find the same set of circumstances, a pandemic happening, being immunocompromised, having a serious cancer diagnosis and at the same time a total turn around and rehabilitation from this crack cocaine spiral,” Marchand says. “A suspended sentence could be appropriate, but there are a few additional conditions.”

Despite the sentence of house arrest, Marchand noted that the crime was of a serious in nature and could have caused significant physical and emotional harm to the employees at the convenience stores. However, although the affected staff were made aware, no victim impact statements were submitted.

“I am truly sorry for my actions in the past, I was out of my head,” McPherson said. “If nothing else comes out of this, it saved my life… I’ve changed my life 100 percent, and I still have room to grow and learn and stuff like that, but I haven't done drugs in over a year and I’m liking my new way of life. I've got family members I'm getting really close to which has never happened in the past.”

In a letter from a member of McPherson’s family, it states he has developed a strong relationship with his ill mother and calls her everyday. His upbringing was troubled and violent, and his family says they have seen a significant change in how he now acts.

McPherson must complete 150 hours of community service. He will remain on house arrest and can only to leave for counselling, work, appointments or with his partner, all to be done so with written permission from his probation officer. For the next year, he will be on a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. everyday unless he gets written permission to leave his residence outside those hours. He is not allowed to use knives unless for the preparation and eating of food, and he shall abstain from alcohol and any drugs not prescribed by a doctor.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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