A Prince George man with a history of trying to evade police while behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle was sentenced to just shy of seven more months in jail for committing the crime for a third time.
Paul Daniel Shaw, 36, was also prohibited from driving for three years and must pay $7,920 restitution for the Dec. 7, 2018 incident that began when he found a set of keys in the parking lot of a local grocery store. Instead of turning them in, Shaw "decided badly," the court heard, and took advantage of the situation to steal a pickup truck.
The theft was reported to the RCMP andthe truck was seen in College Heights a short time later. But Shaw chose to speed away when spotted by police and headed north on Ospika Boulevard then east on 15th before he was apprehended at Ewert Street.
Along the way, he drove over a meridian and into oncoming traffic and blew through an intersection at 120 km/h. When RCMP tried to box the vehicle in, Shaw collided head on with an unmarked police truck and struck a civilian vehicle, pushing it up onto the shoulder of the road and leaving the two occupants with injuries to a shoulder and a neck.
Defence counsel Mitch Hogue made a case for a two-year conditional sentence order, essentially a jail sentence served at home, saying his client has made significant progress to mend his ways since the arrest and that the crime was not planned and premeditated.
But particularly because Shaw has been convicted of similar offences twice before, provincial court judge Peter McDermick found Shaw's latest action merited a sentence of more than two years, thus negating a conditional sentence order.
However, the work Shaw has put into dealing with his substance abuse issues and efforts to distance himself from the criminal element helped shave significant time off the sentence he was facing.
While Crown counsel had argued for three years in jail, McDermick settled on two years and four months. Less credit of 644 days for time in custody prior to sentencing, Shaw had 206 days left to serve.
Shaw's track record while awaiting sentencing was not perfect, as he walked away from a treatment centre while out of custody, knowing he was about to be expelled because he had consumed some marijuana. Shaw remained "on the lam" for the next five months before he was finally spotted by police in Prince George and arrested.
His wife, meanwhile, refused to let him into their house until he dealt with his legal issues, the court was told, and since his return to custody, Shaw has participated in counselling and earned several certificates.
Given a chance to speak to the court prior to sentencing, Shaw said he "allowed my addiction" to govern his decision making. He further said he takes full responsibility for his actions and apologized for the damage he caused.
Shaw was also sentenced to a series of concurrent terms for breaching a release order by leaving the treatment centre, possessing a small weapon when he was arrested, and for driving while his licence was suspended from a separate incident that had no influence on his primary sentence.
Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen