'I took a downward spiral,' thief tells court, and wishes judge a merry Christmas

Ryan Ross
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Man who stole $400 in cash and cheques during break and enter says drug problem related to a friend who had committed suicide

Scales of justice

A man who cashed cheques he stole out of the pocket in a pair of pants at a house he wasn’t supposed to be in will be spending his Christmas in jail after he was sentenced in provincial court Friday.

But Richard Thomas Lawlor, 25, didn’t seem to hold it against Chief Judge John Douglas and gave him a seasonal greeting before he left the courtroom.

“Thank you, your honour. Merry Christmas,” Lawlor said.

Douglas had just sentenced Lawlor to serve a total of five months in jail on several charges that included break and enter, failing to attend court and breaching the conditions of his probation.

Lawlor was convicted on Dec. 10 after a trial where he was found to have entered a house to look for someone without permission. While there he took two cheques from a pair of pants in one of the rooms.

Lawlor wrote cheques for a total of $378 and also stole about $40 in cash.

The court heard that Lawlor was convicted of theft in November 2012 and was referred to addiction services because of a drug problem, but only attended one appointment with his worker so his case was closed for non-compliance.

Lawlor was also charged with driving without a licence after he was caught driving a U-Haul cube van. His record included four driving suspensions in more than a year.

Before sentencing, Lawlor addressed the court and said he was remorseful for what he had done and his recent drug problem was related to a close friend killing himself.

“I took a downward spiral,” he said.

Lawlor said he had dropped his friend off and got a text message from him 20 minutes later on the day he killed himself. That message said “I’m done with life.”

Lawlor’s voice wavered as he said his friend had owed people money and the police found his body in a field where he and Lawlor used to camp as kids.

In handing down a sentence, Douglas said it wasn’t a usual break and enter and was on the lower end of the scale. Douglas told Lawlor his past wasn’t great, but there was no reason his future couldn’t be different.

Along with the jail time, Douglas ordered Lawlor to pay a $750 fine, $312.50 in victims of crime surcharges and $359 in restitution.

Lawlor will also be on probation for two years upon his release from jail.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

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  • Disrespect
    December 24, 2013 - 13:27

    It wasn't enough that everything happened to that poor man who died. The guardian should get their facts straight before they post an article like this. The man accused exaggerated on his friendship and this is definitely not something the family wants to see at Christmas time or at all

  • ISLANDER
    December 24, 2013 - 10:02

    To Robin Redemption Their is no such thing as justice today in this world the one who has the money is the ones who walk free and get away with everything. LAW stands for Laugh And Watch as the rich get away with anything.

  • Robin Redemption
    December 24, 2013 - 09:01

    As reported in this article, I wish Mike Duffy, who has done ten times worse, had one tenth of this criminal's humility. However, as enabled by Harperesque justice, one is collecting benefits is positioned for a huge pension . . . the other spends Christmas in jail.

    • Carol
      December 24, 2013 - 09:43

      Hardly seems fair?