©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
A 30-year-old Charlottetown man has been sentenced to nine years in a federal correctional centre for his role in a May 2012 home invasion and robbery at the residence of convicted drug dealer Dean Fairhurst in Emyvale.
The sentence was imposed Monday in P.E.I. Supreme Court in the case of Jason Norman Yeo.
Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Taylor said although Yeo was not present when the robbery took place, he conceived it, planned it and provided material support to the people who carried it out.
Yeo identified the victim to those who carried out the robbery and showed them where he lived.
Taylor noted Yeo also benefitted greatly from the robbery, receiving the vast majority of the drugs taken from the house by Chase Roper and Derry Ian Bird. The value of those drugs was estimated at between $24,000 and $30,000.
Taylor said the sentence he imposed addressed the principals of deterrence and denunciation and separated Yeo from society for the protection of the public.
Yeo, he said, has been living a life of crime characterized by violence.
The prior criminal record of the accused includes convictions for assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, drug trafficking and possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking.
Crown counsel Cyndria Wedge had asked the court to sentence Yeo to 10 years in prison.
Mitchell MacLeod, Yeo’s defence counsel, argued that Yeo’s involvement in this offence warranted a sentence of between four to five years at most.
Taylor was not asked to consider Yeo’s pre-trial custody in passing sentence.
Wedge and MacLeod had proposed that Yeo’s pre-trial custody be addressedwhen he returns to court April 7 for sentence on charges of possession of drugs for the purposes of trafficking.
Yeo is the last person to be sentenced in connection with this home invasion and robbery.
Just last week Bird, who was already serving a federal sentence for drug trafficking, was sentenced to five and a half years for his part in the robbery. Roper was sentenced last summer to four years in prison for his involvement in the robbery.
Kaylee Frances McLean and Jennifer Lee Wakelin, both of Charlottetown, were sentenced to four-month jail terms for their involvement. Both women were originally charged with armed robbery, but after a careful review of the facts in this case the Crown accepted guilty pleas from both women to the lesser charge of break and enter into a dwelling house.
Speaking to sentence Monday, Wedge said Yeo has received many sentences and had many interventions but nothing deters him from committing further criminal offences.
She told Taylor the court would be doing a great public service by locking Yeo up for as long as possible.
MacLeod said Yeo may have been integral to the planning of this offence but was not present when the offence was committed. He said there was no evidence to support the suggestion that Yeo knew Roper and Bird would use firearms in the commission of this robbery.
MacLeod also addressed the Crown’s assertion that Yeo had contributed to the criminality of others. He said Yeo may have brought Roper into this but did not promote involving the two young women.
MacLeod argued that Yeo was less culpable than some of the other players here.
The Crown disagreed completely with MacLeod onYeo’s level of culpability, asserting that Yeo was the mastermind behind it.
In passing sentence Taylor noted that the other parties involved were considerably younger than Yeo and had either no prior criminal record or at very least, a less serious criminal record.
Roper, McLean and Wakelin also pleaded guilty and cooperated with the police.
Drugs were at the centre of this offence and Taylor made the observation that drugs of this nature were a blight on the community.