A judge in Prince Edward Island has banned an Ontario man who moved there to deal with his drug addiction for two years as part of his sentence for a slew of criminal offences.
In addition to not being allowed in the province, Judge John Douglas slapped 36-year-old Brian Mark Clarke with 90 days in jail and two years of probation for a range of crimes including thefts and driving infractions, according to the The Guardian newspaper. Clarke was credited with time served in jail in the leadup to his conviction.
Clarke was convicted of stealing $64 of gas, $224 in razors from a pharmacy, and $220 in groceries. He also stole keys from a Canadian Tire store and drove off in the car they belonged to, also violating previous driving restrictions he was under. When police tried to pull him over, he refused to stop and continued driving away at a high speed.
Clarke moved from Kitchener, Ontario to PEI to deal with his drug addiction, according to the news outlet, which reported on Clarke’s sentencing hearing on Tuesday.
“I came here for a better life,” Clarke told the court in an apology before the hearing began, according to the newspaper. Clarke said that he was trying to get away from fentanyl in Kitchener.
“I didn’t know what it was, but before I knew it, I was using it,” he continued. Clarke added that he did not know what to expect in PEI and was not prepared for life there. He also said he was sorry for wreaking havoc in the small community.
It’s not the first time someone has been banned from a province for committing crimes, and some legal experts argue that the punishment could be a violation of someone’s charter rights to freedom of mobility and freedom of association.
In 2017, a man was exiled from Newfoundland and Labrador as part of his sentence for a string of criminal convictions including aggravated assault and breaking and entering.
Gordie Bishop was given credit for time served and jail, and the judge sent him back to Alberta.
Allan Manson, Queen’s university law professor, told Global News in 2017 in regards to the Newfoundland case that banishment orders are “very problematic” and such sweeping geographic bans could be overturned on appeal.
“Other than keeping a person away from associates and environments, it’s hard to say that this is a rehabilitative measure,” Manson said.
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