Troy Dobbin, 19, is preparing for Judge Bruce Short’s decision following a sentencing hearing held on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 13, when Dobbin made an appearance in the Harbour Grace provincial courthouse.
Dobbin, who has now spent over a year in custody, was originally charged with robbery, assault with a weapon or imitation, extortion, possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes, failure to comply with sentence or disposition, and conspiracy to commit and indictable offense. The charges came after Dobbin was, alongside co-accused Adam Stagg, Jennine Porter, and an unnamed youth, found to be involved, in the robbery of a Winterton man who believed to be on a date with Porter.
During the sentencing report, Dobbin’s lawyer, Barbara Barker, told Short that her client would be changing his pleas to guilty for his breach of probation and accessory to robbery charges, while the remainder of Dobbin’s charges are to be withdrawn.
During a presentation to Short, Crown lawyer Paul Thistle explained that Dobbin had a significantly lesser degree of involvement in the situation compared to both Porter and Stagg, and therefore suggested a lighter sentence of anywhere between 18 and 24 months.
Porter received a sentence of 639 days in June of 2017, while Stagg received 606 days the following month. Both sentences were reduced from longer periods due to accumulated remand time.
Thistle, during his presentation, noted that although Dobbin had been notably hesitant during the robbery, he continued to follow along with the idea, adding himself as an intimidation factor, while Stagg held the knife used to threaten the victim.
“I think the facts of this case outline that Mr. Dobbin is a follower,” said Thistle. “He’s been involved with, and following, negative peer groups. While Dobbin’s involvement in the matter is lesser, he is still deserving of a serious sentencing.”
Thistle went on to suggest that, were Dobbin to continue such actions, that he were heading down a dangerous path, but with proper aid and rehabilitation, could become a productive member of society.
Barker followed Thistle’s presentation with a similar suggestion of an 18-month sentence, bearing in mind Dobbin’s time spent in custody.
Barker also explained that since the charges were laid, Dobbin has expressed a desire to make serious life improvements, including pursuing further education. She said he hopes to participate in programs at the Grace Center in Harbour Grace in an effort to avoid falling back into opiate addiction.
Barker also suggested that Dobbin’s time spent in jail had shocked him, stating that it was an education he was not prepared for.
“In relation to the addiction component, he did experience a withdrawal during his time here in the RCMP station,” said Barker. “He identified that as a pretty horrendous experience. He also said that he could have very easily have found drugs inside the pen, and that it was actually easier to find them inside, rather than on the streets. But he did not go back to opiate use.”
Barker also described other experiences Dobbin had in custody, such as a shanking in the gymnasium, and a close friend committing suicide, and that Dobbin expressed a constant fear of being injured or killed. Barker felt as though these experiences would help Dobbin continue to move toward an improved lifestyle.
“It has shocked him to the point that he never wants to be inside a prison, ever again,” said Barker. “We’re putting him forward as a good candidate for rehabilitation, as someone who has a genuine desire to never find himself in this circumstance ever again.”
Alongside the suggestion of 18 months, Barker also noted that Dobbin had requested a lengthy probation period of three years. Barker said that those years would be an extra push that Dobbin felt he needed to keep himself in order, and away from negative influences.
At the end of Barker’s presentation, Short stated that he would require time to make a decision on the matter. The date of the decision is set to Monday, Sept. 18 at 9:30.