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Man who fled hearing sentenced to 25 months

Jun 06 2012

A Greater Victoria man who jumped out of a moving car and vanished during a break in his sentencing hearing four months ago was sentenced Tuesday to 25 months in prison.

James Cody Patterson, 22, was spotted May 11 in a Calgary casino. He was arrested and transported back to Victoria.

On Feb. 23, Patterson applied to the court to strike guilty pleas he had entered on several of his charges. He was supposed to return to court after Victoria provincial court Judge Adrian Brooks considered his application, but panicked and jumped out of his sister's car, the court heard.

On Tuesday, Brooks denied his application, describing Patterson's evidence at the hearing as inconsistent.

"I have no question whatsoever his entry of pleas was, at all times, completely voluntary," said Brooks.

Brooks said he accepted Patterson was in a state of panic when he did not return to the hearing. But a state of panic lasting from February to May means quite simply that Patterson was not interested in facing up to what he had done, said Brooks.

He convicted Patterson of using an imitation firearm, break and enter and assault with a weapon in February 2009, possession for the purpose of trafficking both heroin and cocaine in January 2010, driving while prohibited in December 2010 and failing to appear pursuant to a court order in February.

Brooks sentenced Patterson to the one-year mandatory minimum for using an imitation firearm on the evening of Feb. 28, 2009, and imposed a consecutive sentence of six months for the break-in.

That night, Patterson was on the balcony of an apartment building on Glasgow Avenue when four men returned to their apartment. About half an hour later, there was a knock on their door. Patterson and another person pushed their way in. Patterson pointed the gun at one man's face. He pointed the gun at the back of another man's head, then held it under another man's chin.

Eventually, the situation calmed down, said Brooks.

"We expect to be safe in our homes. And it's quite right for the courts to stand up for the protection we should have in our homes," said Brooks. "Mr. Patterson, this is a very strong breach of that safety we feel in our homes."

The drug offences are also serious, said the judge. Patterson was found with 28 grams of heroin and 28 grams of crack cocaine.

Brooks sentenced Patterson to six months for each drug offence. The sentences are to be served concurrently, but consecutive to the other sentences.

Patterson received a seven-day concurrent sentence for driving while prohibited and 60 days for failing to return to his sentencing hearing. However, Brooks credited Patterson with 30 days time served, reducing the sentence to 30 days consecutive.

Patterson was ordered to forfeit $3,025 cash he was carrying when he was arrested and the imitation firearm. He must provide authorities with a sample of his DNA. Brooks also imposed a lifetime weapons' prohibition.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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