A man who was found guilty of robbing a Subway in Courtenay in 2020 will be able to appeal his sentence, but he won’t live in Chilliwack while he does so.
Edmond John Henry Patterson hoped to be released from jail and stay at Chilliwack’s Joshua House during his appeal. Joshua House is a Christian-centered residential treatment centre located on Chilliwack Lake Road, and Patterson had a bed secured and strict conditions in place that would have prevented him from leaving the facility without written consent from the courts.
But in a decision handed down Aug. 4, 2023 in Vancouver through the B.C. Court of Appeal, Justice Christopher Grauer ruled that Patterson’s extensive criminal history makes him a risk to public safety. Grauer determined Patterson would be at unacceptably high risk to re-offend if released, so he stays behind bars.
Patterson presented a persuasive case that he’s a changed man since walking into the Subway in the 2700 block of Cliffe Avenue on Aug. 16, 2020. With his face partially covered by a handkerchief, he waved what appeared to be a pistol at the one woman who was working there and took $350 from the till. He escaped through the alley running behind the business.
He was on probation at the time.
Patterson was sentenced to a total of 35 months for the robbery, probation breach and use of an imitation firearm and his statutory release date doesn’t come up until April 6, 2024.
Arguing for release, Patterson insisted he has made major progress with rehabilitation, completing several programs. He conceded that he has long-standing issues with addictions and homelessness, but suggested his attitude, motivation, behaviour and effort have been excellent and staying in jail is causing him unnecessary hardship due to physical and mental health concerns. Patterson also said his life has been threatened more than once because of evidence he gave in another matter.
But Grauer noted that Patterson’s racked up between 61 and 64 criminal convictions from 1990 to now, covering the spectrum from property offences to drug trafficking and violent crimes. There have also been multiple breaches of release orders, leaving the judge with little confidence Patterson would adhere to a new release plan.
“I am obliged to conclude that Mr. Patterson’s actions in the past, including the recent past, must be given more weight than his present intentions, however salutary,” Grauer wrote. “As the sentencing judge observed, ‘The record reflects that Mr. Patterson has never had much regard for the law and has never thought much about the persons he was victimizing along the way.’”
Patterson is appealing an aggravating factor in the Subway robbery. He said the judge made a mistake accepting that he pointed the pistol at the victim, enhancing the violence of the offence. Patterson argued the evidence didn’t support him pointing the gun at the employee. The Canadian Criminal Code has also been amended since Patterson was sentenced, and there’s no longer a one-year mandatory minimum sentence for use of an imitation firearm in the commission of an indictable offence.
Grauer said Patterson should be allowed to have that part of his sentence reconsidered.
“Having established that the appeal is not frivolous, Mr. Patterson should be granted leave (to appeal),” Grauer wrote.