A Montrealer who has caught the COVID-19 in preventive detention has got a slight reduction in sentence for a series of thefts from atms in banks and metro stations.
“Learning that one is infected with a virus that rages everywhere in the world and which led to thousands of deaths, whereas one is incarcerated, and that one has so little control over her own physical autonomy, is not trivial,” commented the judge Dennis Galiatsatos condemning Yvan Boucher, this week, at the palais de justice of Montreal.
Butcher, 49, is a thief who has been racking up awards since 1992. His most recent crimes date back to 2018 and 2019, when he had stolen atms. In all, he has committed eight thefts, which have reported a little less than $60,000.
Outbreak of coronavirus
Pinned by the police, the thief had been placed in preventive detention at the prison of Bordeaux, in Montreal. However, the detention center has experienced an outbreak of the COVID-19. And in a test for preventive screening, Boucher has learned that he was infected when he was asymptomatic.
“Fortunately, Mr. Boucher has not suffered any significant negative consequences of its infection with the coronavirus, explained the judge. It has not suffered any permanent sequelae or even transient. “
But although it is well out in the circumstances, the judge acknowledged that Boucher had reason to be stressed out by the situation.
“In itself, the stress that produces this kind of discovery, juxtaposed to the state of anxiety which prevailed at the detention centre, so that a slight reduction of sentence is required,” concluded the magistrate by subtracting one month of the sentence of four years suggested by the parties.
He also pointed out that the award was ultimately lenient, considering the crimes of the Butcher.
But if the judge has agreed to slightly reduce the sentence of a Butcher, because the latter had caught the COVID-19, he refused to reduce even more due to harsh prison conditions anticipated for the rest of the sentence.
“The situation in Montreal seems to be stabilizing […], the spread of the virus appears to be slowing, although all agree that increased vigilance remains necessary,” he said.
Besides, even if containment measures have aroused discontent among prisoners, they have since been watered down.
“At this stage, it would be inappropriate to presume that the conditions continue to be difficult, or even estimate for how long they will persist “, he said.
Given the remand, it remains to Butcher 21 months to be served. A few months ago, the judge had agreed to delay the sentence, so that the thief has custody and he has finished serving his sentence in Montreal, close to his family.