St. John’s man gets nearly six years in prison for armed robberies, other charges

Published on November 22, 2013

A man who held up two stores and was the subject of a police standoff has been sentenced to almost six years in jail.

In provincial court in St. John's today, Justin Joseph Wiseman was sentenced to five years in jail plus the time he's spent in custody. The 22-year-old has been in jail for 195 days. With 1.5 times credit, it totals 292 days.

The sentence was handed down by Judge Mike Madden, who went along with a joint recommendation from the Crown and defence lawyers.

Wiseman pleaded guilty to 17 charges, including two armed robberies, weapons charges and several court breaches.

Prosecutor Danny Vavasour pointed to the seriousness of Wiseman's crimes, but said Wiseman is still young and still has hope of rehabilitation.

Defence lawyers Kevin Baker and Arnold Hussey said Wiseman has been battling an alcohol addiction, but is getting help. They said this has been a wake-up call for him.

"If this is not his Jesus moment, I don't know when it's going to come," Hussey said.

When Wiseman was given the chance to speak, he apologized to the residents of Springdale Street and to the employees of the convenience stores he robbed.

"They didn't deserve me coming in with a knife and threatening them," he said. "I take responsibility for what I've done."

Wiseman said he's taken a close look at his life the past few years.

"I've been running from my problems," he said. "I think now it's time to stop."

Wiseman was charged in connection to eight different incidents, including two armed robberies and a lengthy standoff with police in the downtown area of the capital city.

The majority of Wiseman’s charges stem from May 11.

That evening, he held up City Superette on Springdale Street. Shortly afterwards, he barricaded himself inside a nearby house on the street with a shotgun. It resulted in a nine-hour standoff with police before he finally surrendered.

He also held up Marie’s Mini Mart in Paradise on Nov. 7, 2012.

Ten days later, he stole items from Triple C Car Wash on Old Placentia Road in Mount Pearl.

On Aug. 7 of this year, he damaged property while in custody at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary (HMP).

In all, Wiseman pleaded guilty to two counts each of armed robbery and having his face masked, theft under $5,000, damaging property at HMP, possessing a weapon (a shotgun), possessing a prohibited or restricted weapon without a licence and nine counts of breaching court orders.

Wiseman violated the court orders by failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour, breaking his curfew and failing to sign in at RNC headquarters. He also breached his conditions by consuming alcohol and having weapons.

Wiseman also faces outstanding charges in relation to an alleged riot at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in early August. He’s due back in court Dec. 3 to deal with that case.

Justin Wiseman was back in provincial court Thursday to enter guilty pleas to 17 charges, laid in connection with several incidents, including two armed robberies and a nine-hour standoff with police in May. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram