Bank robber gets 18 months jail

He did the crimes, but a convicted killer won't be spending that much extra time behind bars.

Robert James Williams was sentenced earlier this year to 18 months in prison in connection with three bank robberies in Richmond in May of 2012.

Williams robbed a TD Bank on May 25, 2012, when he demanded $2,500 cash from a teller, who instead gave him a pastic bag containing $200 cash and a dye pack.

Two days later, Williams targetted another TD branch, and again demanded $2,500, but this time insisted on one without a dye pack or a decoy. But he fled before obtaining any money.

Then on May 28, Williams went to a Coast Capital Savings Credit Union branch, where he was handed a Ziploc bag containing $500.

Williams was identified and interviewed a few days later, but he wasn't charged until June of 2013, a year after he relocated to Nova Scotia.

In a five-day span in mid-June of 2012, Williams committed six offences—including two counts of robbery, escaping lawful custody, dangerous driving and assault with a weapon—in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to six years in prison.

Richmond provincial court Judge Patricia Janzen noted that Williams had a significant adult criminal record dating back to 1998, including a 2004 conviction for manslaughter, for which he was sentenced to 11 years.

According to Williams' lawyer, he became addicted to heroin as a teenager, and during the time he committed the three bank robberies in Richmond, he was "desperately drug addicted and seeking cash to buy drugs."

At 34 years old, Williams is "still young enough to change," his lawyer argued.

Judge Janzen said Williams has finally recognized that his drug addiction "underlies your criminal activity and you have made a commitment to quitting drugs."

While Williams' lawyer argued for a three-and-a-half year jail sentence, which would be served concurrently with his sentence in Nova Scotia, the Crown argued for a two or three year sentence to be served consecutive to his six-year jail sentence.

But Judge Janzen ruled that Williams should serve 18 months in prison for each robbery, to be served concurrently, but consecutive to his current sentence out of Nova Scotia.

"If I am wrong in not taking into account your lost opportunity to be sentenced for these offences at the same time as for the Nova Scotia offences, I have considered whether a global sentence of seven-and-a-half years, followed by a year of probation, is excessive and concluded that it is not.

Aside from the 18 months in prison, Williams was handed a one-year term of probation, and that he is directed not to attend any branch of TD or Coast Capital within B.C. He's also banned from possessing any firearms for life.



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