Barrie man convicted in robbery facing deportation, court hears

·3 min read

A 26-year-old Barrie man is facing deportation after being found guilty of a violent robbery that occurred in downtown Barrie more than a year ago along with a string of other thefts, a Barrie court has heard.

McMichael Prince was handed a three-year term Friday in connection with the robbery and theft-related charges that his lawyer said was related to his schizophrenia and his crack addiction.

Justice Stacey Nichols gave Prince credit for time served while awaiting his day in court, which included extra time for a three-month partial jail lockdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a remaining term of eight-and-a-half months in jail.

Prince, 26, came to Canada with his family from St. Lucia when he was eight years old, court heard during a previous court appearance. By age 16, he was showing signs of schizophrenia and received treatment at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto. Court heard he acts out when he forgets to take his medication.

During the spring and summer of 2019 he was living in a local crack house when he went on a spree, court heard.

On June 25, Prince was involved in a struggle with police after stealing five bottles of Glenfiddich scotch from the downtown LCBO store.

The following week, on July 3, Prince put cans of Red Bull down his pants and tried to run off when approached by a loss prevention officer.

A loss prevention officer was also involved three days later, on July 6, when Prince took three PlayStation 4s from the Bayfield Street Walmart store. Prince punched the officer and took off with the stolen items, selling them for crack cocaine later that day.

Earlier this year, Prince was found guilty following a trial, for a series of charges related to a violent robbery in downtown Barrie.

Court heard Prince locked the door after entering the store, took the clerk’s cellphone and the store’s landline and attacked a downtown merchant as he lay on the floor in a fetal position crying out for help during a “brazen robbery.”

“The violence that was inflicted was brutal and gratuitous,” said Crown attorney Kristin Smyth.

The clerk indicated through a victim impact statement that he had to stop working and was afraid of being by himself at the store.

Phones stolen from the store were either given away or traded for “little or no drugs,” according to a witness.

On the day he planned the robbery he was a crack addict living in a crack house and failed to take his medications for schizophrenia, his lawyer Jeff Fisher said.

“There is going to be a deportation order, there’s just no way around it,” added Fisher, indicating that automatic deportation follows sentences in excess of six months.

He indicated Prince has support in the community from family members and has a plan in place to deal with his issues.

Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,