I have noticed a disturbing trend lately. It seems an ever increasing number of arrests involve weapons seizures. This means that the criminals represent a greater threat to the public. More than that though, it also means that the job of the police is even more dangerous as they confront weapons more often.
On July 29th, Nanaimo RCMP arrested a sought after prolific offender
Police arrested Julien Lawrence Potvin in a targeted traffic stop. Despite the fact that he is only 27 years old, Potvin has an extensive criminal record. Potvin’s non-juvenile convictions date back to 2007.
When police tried to stop the vehicle its driver attempted to speed away. Luckily, the car stalled and came to a sudden halt. This allowed the police to quickly arrest its occupants.
Police searched Potvin and seized a number of items. Those items included a 20-centimetre-long folding knife, brass knuckles, a small baggie of suspected heroin and $2,000 in Canadian cash. They also searched a black backpack at Potvin’s feet. It contained 28 grams of suspected methamphetamine/heroin/fentanyl, scales and other drug paraphernalia. Additionally, they searched the vehicle further and added two cans of bear spray, two folding knives and a machete to the seized items inventory.
Julien Potvin was arrested with twenty-four year old Christopher Bartos
As you might imagine, Bartos is a real piece of work also. In 2010, while in Edmonton, Alberta, Bartos was convicted of assault with a weapon. Additionally he was convicted of robbery and escaping lawful custody. He was paroled in early 2011, but he breached parole almost immediately by coming to Nanaimo instead of remaining at a halfway house in Edmonton.
In Nanaimo in 2011, Bartos brutally assaulted a random woman. She had taken a shortcut down an alley to get to work in the morning. Bartos approached her and asked her for a cigarette. He then assaulted her while she rolled it for him. Bartos hit her in the head with a hard object. He then kicked her repeatedly as she lay dazed on the ground. Finally, he grabbed her tobacco pouch and ran away. He beat a woman for tobacco that she probably would have given him had he simply demanded it. He is violent and dangerous.
Birds of a feather flock together
Thirty year old Robert John Harper was also arrested at the scene. As you might imagine again, Harper is no stranger to crime either. He had previously been convicted of several offences.
- Possession of stolen property under $5,000
- Possession for the purpose of trafficking
- Theft of telecommunication service
- Production of a controlled substance
Criminals and lawyers laugh at Nanaimo Crown Counsel which seems clueless about the meaning of the word “Deterrence”
The primary purpose of punishment is deterrence. Accordingly, think of “deterrence” and “punishment” as absolute synonyms. Therefore, realize that the more harsh the punishment, the greater the deterrence.
Then understand that criminals, like all humans, are always learning. They either learn that their behaviour is acceptable, or that it is not.
Due to lack of meaningful punishment, Nanaimo Crown Counsel is teaching criminals that carrying weapons is acceptable.
This is my message to all Crown Counsel. A plea agreement is NOT a deterrent
Think about it for a minute. A plea agreement is an agreement by the criminal that the punishment is acceptable. Folks, if the punishment is acceptable to the criminal, it is not a deterrent. A punishment must create circumstances unacceptable to the criminal in order to be a deterrent. That is just common sense.
Nanaimo and all Crown Counsel can help to protect our police and you with one simple rule. It should send a message to the criminal community. It should tell criminals that it will not enter into a Plea Agreement when there are weapons charges.
I have a message for Crown Counsel. “Criminals have weapons for a reason. They have them so they can use them.” Are you listening? If so, hear this. Every time you allow a criminal with weapons charges on the streets, you create a greater risk for the cops when they have to arrest him again.