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BC:Home invasion at legal Burnaby grow-op nets eight-year ja

by papapuff » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:54 am

Burnaby Now

Home invasion at legal Burnaby grow-op nets eight-year jail sentence

AUGUST 29, 2017

A 29-year-old crane operator/builder will spend another seven years, four months and 21 days in jail for his role in a home invasion at a licenced marijuana grow operation in Burnaby in May 2014.

Christopher John Ridgeway pleaded guilty in April to robbery and the use of an imitation firearm.

On May 1, 2014, a husband and wife in their 60s operating a licenced marijuana grow operation in the basement of their home heard a knock on their door at about 8:30 a.m., according to a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling by Justice Kathleen Ker

Looking at the surveillance camera, they saw a man carrying a clipboard and wearing a hard hat and safety vest.

The man was Ridgeway’s accomplice, a “Mr. Webb,” who has since died, according to the Crown.

When the wife answered the door, Webb lifted the clipboard and pointed an imitation gun at her and hit her.

Hearing her scream, her husband came to the door, and Webb then pointed the gun at him and asked where the money was, pistol-whipping him and threatening to kill the couple.

Ridgeway followed Webb into the house carrying a gym bag and waving a phone-like device, later determined to be an illegal radio communication jammer.

“The deployment of a jammer in this scenario is the digital equivalent of cutting the telephone line,” Ker said in her ruling.

The jammer intermittently broke up a 911 call from the couple’s daughter-in-law, who was hiding on an upstairs balcony with her two young daughters – then 10 and seven years old.

The 911 dispatcher had to call back at least once, according to Ker’s ruling.

Just as the daughter-in-law heard someone trying to get into the bedroom next to the balcony where she and her girls were hiding, she said she heard police sirens and saw three men run in different directions from the home.

Police spotted Ridgeway running from the house to a taxi across the street where he was arrested.

All the occupants of the house were “terrified and traumatized” by the events, according to Ker’s ruling.

Crown prosecutor Phil Sebellin called for an eight- to 10-year prison sentence for the home invasion and a separate weapons offence on Jan. 9 of this year, when Ridgeway was found passed out in a car in front of a Vancouver apartment building with a pit bull and a loaded illegal handgun.

Ridgeway pleaded guilty to that offence on Jan. 20.

His lawyer, Ian Donaldson, called for a total sentence of six to eight years for both incidents.

In handing down an eight-year jail sentence (minus time already served), Ker noted a number of aggravating factors like Ridgeway’s criminal record, which includes a previous robbery, the use of the radio communication jammer, the fact two children were present and the premeditated nature of the crime.

“The home was targeted to harvest the marihuana crop,” Ker said.

Mitigating factors mentioned by Ker included Ridgeway’s guilty pleas, his remorse, his employment history and work ethic, his efforts at rehabilitation and the support of his family and friends.

“The robbery home invasion was premeditated and violence was employed by Mr. Ridgeway’s accomplices, who were armed and did use violence to achieve their objectives,” Ker said. “A fair and appropriate sentence in this case must emphasize the goals of deterrence and denunciation.”
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