Kelowna prolific offender could see another two years behind bars | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna prolific offender could see another two years behind bars

Jon Michael Aronson
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May 05, 2021 - 11:45 AM

A prolific Kelowna offender with a penchant for leading police on dangerous, high-speed chases could see his time behind bars extended for two more years, a relatively lengthy sentence for the crimes he's been found guilty of.

“Simply put, while he’s in jail he’s not going to kill someone,” Crown counsel Dave Ruse said Wednesday, May 5 asking judge Clarke Burnett to sentence John Michael Aronson, 33, to four years in prison, less time served.

Aronson, who according to the court record also goes by the alias Johnny Blaze, was found guilty of flight from police, dangerous operation of a conveyance, driving while disqualified under the Criminal Code of Canada and breaching probation for a Sept. 23, 2019 incident where he sped away from Mounties and crashed into oncoming traffic, despite having his licence revoked and promising the court he was a changed man, just hours earlier.

“Prior sentences have not worked and it’s now time for significant deterrence and simply to segregate Mr. Aronson,” Ruse said, explaining that while the courts often look for a gradual step-up of sentencing for repeat offenders it doesn’t apply when rehabilitation is not a realistic aim.

Aronson, whose criminal conviction report was six pages long, spanned 17 years and included multiple incidents like the one he’s being sentenced for today, is unlikely to change his ways, Ruse said.

“If he is released, he will drive and he will put people at risk,” Ruse said. “His moral culpability is very high."

This is the fifth time he’s shown that prior sanctions imposed by the court have had no effect and Ruse said, the “best predictor of human behaviour in the future is behaviour in the past.”

Of note, Ruse referred multiple times to the crime Aronson was sentenced for just hours before he got in this last situation.

In January 2019 he was shot by the RCMP Emergency Response Team members and taken down by police dogs in the aftermath of a road rage incident and another chase. He was seriously injured and confined to a wheelchair for that.

The entire issue should have been a deterrent, Ruse said, but it had absolutely no effect, despite his own claims it had.

On sentencing for that crime, Aronson swore he was a changed man.

“Almost dying was an eye-opener for me,” Aronson said in court Sept. 23, 2019 as he was sentenced to time-served to charges including flight from police and dangerous driving.

“I want to be there for my children. I’ve got a different focus on my life. I’m sorry (for) what I did. You won’t see me back here again.”

Of course, that focus was called into question considering he committed the crime at hand within hours of being released.

Aronson has already served 548 days in custody. Credit for time served before sentencing is calculated at 1.5 days for every day in custody, meaning Aronson could get another 22 months behind bars. 

His defence lawyer, Justin Dosanjh has asked for 2.5 years sentence with 24 months for probation. That would see Aronson get an additional 78 days behind bars.

He said Aronson is a red seal carpenter, with a varied work history but suffered from his fractured upbringing. His dad was abusive to his mother, also saw time in prison and died of a drug overdose in 2007. At some point he was in foster care.

He's been smoking pot from age 9, alcohol was introduced to him at age 12 by his parents, and he scaled up to heroin in the time that followed. He was on the methadone program and weaned off methadone earlier this year.

In his pre-sentence report, they say he was set on a "deviant lifestyle" that was "condoned by his parents."

While he wasn't high at the time of the offence, his lawyer said drug addiction shaped his behaviour.

Aronson said he wants to stay with his uncle if he's released soon, so he can get his own residence set up. He would like to move to the Lower Mainland. He has two children, ages 14 and 10, and he wants to be part of their lives.

Provincial court judge Clarke Burnett will deliver his sentence at a later date. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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