The man who robbed the CIBC bank just over two years ago in Williams Lake was impaired by crystal meth and had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication at the time, Williams Lake Supreme Court heard Monday.
Christopher Michael Swain, 42, will serve two more years less a day for a guilty plea on one count of robbery. Swain received a five-year sentence in Williams Lake Supreme Court on Monday, Dec. 2, but was credited for time-served as he has been in custody since he was arrested for the robbery on Nov. 28, 2017.
Crown outlined Swain’s four prior convictions including a 1992 robbery as a youth where he was sentenced to seven months and a probation order, a three-year sentence for robbery in 1997, a four years and six month sentence in 2006 for robbery and a six-year consecutive sentence in 2011 for four counts of robbery.
At the time of the robbery in 2017, Swain had recently moved to 100 Mile House.
A joint submission from Crown and defence proposed the five-year sentence, which Supreme Court Justice E. David Crossin ruled was appropriate, along with a one-year probation following release from jail and a life-time ban from possessing firearms or weapons.
Swain will also be required to provide a DNA sample and attend drug counselling as and when directed by his probation officer.
He is also prohibited from attending the CIBC in Williams Lake.
Crossin said he considered Swain’s guilty plea in September of this year as a mitigating factor, although it came ‘late in the day,’ as well as his drug addiction, and more recent attempts to change his life by taking courses, before determining the sentence.
Outlining the facts of the case during the sentencing hearing, Crown Counsel Paolo Konge said Swain arrived at the bank around 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2017, wearing jeans, a black hoodie pulled up on his head, a black scarf covering his face, dark sunglasses, black gloves and carrying a black backpack.
Swain walked over to the counter and engaged with a teller, demanding 50s and 100s from her. The teller handed over $1,335 in Canadian currency, Konge said.
“Mr. Swain then pushed aside another bank customer who was speaking with a different teller. That customer was Mr. William Drebit.”
When Swain demanded money from the teller, Drebit, 66 at the time, realizing a robbery was taking place, began to engage Swain.
He pulled the scarf off Swain’s face and eventually tackled him to the ground with help from another customer, Blaine Grinder.
“Mr. Grinder, who has practiced in Jiu-Jitsu and worked in security helped Mr. Drebit hold and restrain Mr. Swain until police arrived,” Konge said.
Swain pleaded for the men to let him go, saying, “I’m an addict, I won’t do it again,” and then handed the money back to one of the tellers who was standing there, Konge said, noting the RCMP responded in a matter of minutes and arrested Swain, taking him into custody.
Evidence for the case was presented by witnesses in the bank and taken from video surveillance at the bank, Konge said.
In December 2017, Drebit and Grinder were acknowledged by the City of Williams Lake and the RCMP for their efforts in the detaining Swain at the CIBC.