RNC chief ‘appalled’ by group attack

Colin MacLean
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Five youths in court on robbery with violence charges

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary chief Robert Johnston used the word “appalled” at a news conference Monday to describe his reaction to a weekend incident that saw five youths allegedly assault and rob a Mount Pearl man with physical disabilities.
— Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

RNC Chief Robert Johnston has had a lot disturbing cases come across his desk over the years, but he told reporters Monday that even he was surprised by an incident at Mount Pearl Square over the weekend.

Five youths have been accused of luring a 24-year-old man with a physical disability into the woods, beating him and then stealing his stuff. The attack occurred Friday.

The idea of such an allegation being made in this community is shocking, said Johnston.  

“I’m here today to talk about this incident as a chief of police and as a parent,” he said.

“I’m appalled by what had taken place with this person with disabilities. This is a vulnerable person in our community,” he said.  

“All of us, we have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our community.”

The one bright spot in this incident, added Johnston, is the aid that was given to the victim once he managed to drag himself to a nearby convenience store.

Johnston said he wanted to personally extend his thanks to those individuals for being Good Samaritans.

All of the suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and robbery with violence. One of the females was also charged with breaching two court orders.

The youths consisting of two males and three females — range in age from 14 to 17.

They made an appearance Monday in provincial court .

The five teens were led into court in handcuffs.

One of the girls was crying as she looked into the seats at her family members. The other four showed no emotion.

 Prosecutor Heidi Wells indicated to Judge Jim Walsh the Crown would proceed by way of indictment, meaning if the teens are convicted, they would face stiffer punishment.

Since Wells said the Crown was opposed to their release, a bail hearing was scheduled to be held in the afternoon.

Walsh indicated that while there would be one hearing, he would assess each of the teens individually.

The hearing was not completed before court closed, and is scheduled to continue today.

Because all of the accused are minors, their identities can’t be published.

Johnston said the RNC does

not believe there was any relationship between the youths and the victim, but he stressed the investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

The RNC is asking anyone with information regarding this case to come forward.

Anyone who might have been in the area at the time is also asked to contact the police.

Information can be passed along by calling the RNC Major Crime Unit at 729-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 Information can also be submitted online at www.nlcrimestoppers.com.


Twitter: @TelegramMacLean

Organizations: Crime Stoppers

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Recent comments

  • Rose
    October 02, 2012 - 21:41

    What are we teaching our kids?! You can shake your head at the wayward children of today all you want- we, as adults, are the ones responsible for them. Those parents have failed their children. They have not instilled in them the basics of humanity. Shame on them! The children may not be beyond rehabilitation (a 14 year old is still very much a child), but the parents who created this mess are likely hopeless.

  • Discusted
    October 02, 2012 - 14:38

    These kids should be removed from their homes pending a CYFS and a RNC investigation. This behavior was learned somewhere. My guess is the parents have just as much compassion for other people as these little snots do. Where does this much hatred come from? We need to step back and take a long hard good look at the system in this province and this country. We need some serious sentencing, not the slap on the wrist kids are getting now. Or adults for that matter. When are people going to wake up?

  • mike
    October 02, 2012 - 13:59

    Our system has 2 main flaws that are very contradictory. 1. is that most sentences only have to be served from 1/6 to 1/3 for first time offenders. 2. You are stuck with the label of criminal long after paying your debt to society and thus easily lead back into crime as a means of self support. Sentences should be served 100% with the immediate ability to apply for a pardon upon release for non violent / non sexual crimes. We also nee youth institution that can handle long term sentences for suitable crimes, while providing education so not to overly disadvantage those with a potential to turn their life around into a bright future. Right now all we do is slap people on the wrist an give them a label which perpetuates the cycle for life. In this case, the youths, if found guilty. should receive adult sentences, and earn the right to pursue a fulfilling life again. Otherwise they will be back again as adults, at which point its to late. Just my opinion.

  • curious
    October 02, 2012 - 11:39

    I do not condone violence against this person, however, why has no one asked the obvious question? What could have that teenage girl said to this man to make him go with her into the woods? If the handicap is has severe as mentioned, then I doubt it was to get the girl's kitten out of a tree.

    • Fred Penner
      October 02, 2012 - 14:18

      Irrelevant. Whatever the bait, he did not deserve to be food for a school of sharks.

  • Ron
    October 02, 2012 - 10:46

    All I can say is that this is disgusting. Sometimes I wish I wasn't 22 so I wouldn't have to be grouped in society with the likes of this. These individuals deserve nothing but the inside of a jail cell. Something somewhere, either it be in the school systems, something in the legal system or something at home, has to change. If your sense of right and wrong is that far off track you know someone messed up somewhere. With that being said, they are the ones who chose to raise the fists and they should be help accountable for their actions (and 12 months community service and therapy does not count)

  • what about forty thousand stolen at RNC HQ
    October 02, 2012 - 10:30

    Christ; WHERE WAS THiS FELLOW JOHNSTON to when over 40 thousand big ones went missing/stolen from RNC HQ; funny i didnt hear him blowing off to the local stjohns media back then; where was he then as concerned taxpayer/parent; i still want my 40 thousand bucks back from whom ever at RNC HQ stole it; the super cop from Ontario solved the case but no charges were laid by justice dept or RNC; what's up with that; why no charges from crime committed under the super chief Johnston's nose; this special needs person who was assaulted is crime similar and really not alot unlike thousands of others committed on innocent victims; no more no less; violent criminal is violent criminal; if aged 15 yrs old or 55 yrs old; whats the diff; so if concerned parent johnston can tear himself away from the adoring stjohns media; and get back to work solving theft of 40 Gs; i will be happy; this theft is really a black mark on his time as chief and really a running joke in regards to the RNC and its crime solving ability; probably they can put someone on this case who got a degreee from MUN; a recent RNC training graduate; shouldn't be too hard to solve; theft was apparently right from holding unit from evidence from pending criminal trials; just see who signed for 40 thousand; or look at video surveilliance tape; or see if buddy from Republic Doyle can crack the case during a taping of show at the ROOMS or RNC HQ; certainly enough crackerjack RNC staff and cars used on that show; i'd said case solved in 35 minutes

    • Ron
      October 02, 2012 - 12:02

      It is obvious from your vitriolic and idiotic comment that you know nothing about the theft at the RNC other than the fact that there was a theft. You are obviously just a person with an axe to grind. You obviously haven't read any of the articles on the matter and are just content on going on with an anti RNC rant. Try getting your facts straight and come up with some sort of constructive comments. IDIOT

    • Joe public
      October 02, 2012 - 12:49

      are you that ignorant? you do realize that they aren't really using the RNC cars on republic of doyle don't you? Go up by the airport hangers to their studio and you can see all the prop "RNC" cars and even "municipal" ambulances parked there. People like you crack me up, always looking to put a negative spin on anything the police do. And comparing the assault of a mentally challenged individual to "thousands of others" is idiotic. Why don't you go and hang out in a cell with these 5 teenagers and when you get the crap kicked out of you we can shrug our shoulders and say "oh well it's not unlike any other one". And I didn't realize it was all YOUR 40 thousand dollars?

  • Nicole
    October 02, 2012 - 09:42

    If they had guts enough to beat a physically disabled individual and rob him, not only their names but also their faces should be plastered on the front page for all to see...who gives a shit about their ages. No one can tell me that individuals between the ages of 14-17 don't have the knowledge of right and wrong. Kids are getting worse and worse...maybe publishing their names and treat them as adults in the courts eyes might help change a few things, never mind the slap on the wrist they are going to get. Disgusting!

    • Bruce
      October 02, 2012 - 12:14

      Nicole, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think their names should be published in the paper, on TV and in every window of every corner store in and around the Northeat Avalon. Furthermore, if any of these 5 scumbags are involved in any sort of sports activities, then I beleive they should be blacklisted from these organizations.

  • Terry Walsh
    October 02, 2012 - 09:30

    I am truly disturbed and disgusted at the cowardice these youth's have shown and their lack of compassion leads me to wonder where does it stem from. No love given no love shown, does it start at home, or just another cowardly act? I don't condone any sort of violence, however I do wonder sometimes if our society is too lenient and if we have let the children rule the adults? When I went to school you didn't dare step out of line and backtalk your teacher or you would pay for it dearly, it was called respect for your elders, something that is lacking in the children today. Bring back corporal punishment and maybe just maybe these violent teenager's will think twice of committing violence against another person, just maybe!

  • Duffy
    October 02, 2012 - 09:16

    Punks who apparently have no good supervision. Solution: Put them where there is 24/7 supervision - that would be jail for 10 years+. BUT our court system will blame it on society or the teacher in school had them raise there hand or whatever some mouthpiece they hire comes up with. And the poor girl crying is just BS for the Judge to see.give her 12 years+

  • Fred Penner
    October 02, 2012 - 08:51

    I can't help but wonder what the legal system would do to me if I had come across this "gang" while this was happening and I had planted my boot in their rear end?

  • Anne
    October 02, 2012 - 08:38

    What a horrid thing to happen to any person. It is very distrubing to read that only one of the criminals showed any emotion in the court room and the other four criminals didn't. I can hardly believe that such things are going on in Newfoundland. What happened to the pride of being a Newfoundlander and that things like that doesn't happen there? I guess the kids today have self entitlement issues and the parents are scared to death to lay a hand on they because of being threatened by the kids to call social services. Let them call social services and see how they like living somewhere else. I had to leave NL years ago to get a job and have been waiting anxiously for retirement to go back to my family and friends. What is a person supposed to do with all of the crime going on. I know there will be people that will say stay where you are than. My Mom won't even open her door in the summer to let a breeze blow in because she is scared to death thinking that someone will come in and rob and kill her because of the high crime going on. I know that there is crime where I live but lately it seems that Newfoundland is splashed across the news screen every night with multiple crimes. Yes, the justice system will fail all of us.

  • June
    October 02, 2012 - 08:19

    This is a terrible crime and there is no excuse for it. The young people growing up today have no respect for anyone and anything. The problem is society in general, everywhere you look there are these groups for people's rights and group's against punishing children. There in itself is the problem you don't have the right to punish children and they know that,they can basically do as they please with little or no consequence. This bull about not releasing thier names to the public to protect their identity because they are you offenders is a crock. If they are capable of committing such a crime they deserve to humiliated in the eyes of the public just as they humiliated th victim of their crime. I do have a problem with people such as Grant trying to put the blame on the parent's. As a parent you do your best to teach your children right from wrong and to teach them respect. If a child goes out and commits a crime it isn't the parents fault. If anything the parents in a lot of these cases are victims themselves, nobody teaches thier child to go out and commit such crimes. The vicitim is scarred for life and the parents also bare scars that cannot heal, knowing that their child whom they loved and nurtured could growup to be so evil. Don't always blame a young persons crimes on their parents.

  • Robb
    October 02, 2012 - 07:58

    Absolutely appalling.......cannot give out the names of these scumbags because of that stupid young offenders act....what crap........if one of these idiots is living next to me, or any of my family, I want to know........give up this protecting of the scumbags and tell the people what they need to protect themselves.....oh, and throw the book at these creeps......make the big examples out of them all, and see if they are so smart next time.....!

  • stephen
    October 02, 2012 - 07:29

    These thugs will be protected by the young offenders act,while the victim gets forgot about. Nice to see how some parents are raising their kids these days,lack of disipline combined with giving these litttle @#43 s everything they bawl for . I know what my justice would be if this disabled chap was a family member of mine,shameful these punks will get off scott free, or spend a week in hotel Whitbourne. Once the trial is over, place a sign on each of them and parade them through the Avalon Mall all day on Sat. so we all csan see these thugs and they get to see us.

  • Susie C
    October 02, 2012 - 07:26

    "Young offenders", they should be made an example of to other such "young offenders" . We need stiffer punishment for these young people... order them to work with the physically and challenged individuals for a year under supervision ... that would be my punishment for these "young offenders".

    • Jackie Barrett
      October 02, 2012 - 08:19

      Susie C, they won't be allowed to do any volunteer work with Special Olympics as they do criminal record and child abuse registry checks on prospective volunteers. Personally, I would like to see the ultimate punishment imposed on these hooligans, a five year banishment from Newfoundland and Labrador as discrimination towards disabled persons are not acceptable in this province.

  • grant
    October 02, 2012 - 07:24

    Just wondering if they be lucky enough to get the judge who likes Rap music, and do a few Rap songs. I will be appalled at the sentence they well get, probaly they could release them to what caused it in the first place, there parents.

  • Anthony
    October 02, 2012 - 07:14

    Nothing needs to be said about what these young adults have done, because everyone is equaly disgusted by their behavior. What needs to be addressed is the lack of any signifigant consequence they will face as a result of their criminal, a-moral behavior. The Young Offenders Act, needs to be done away with and people like this, old enough to know better, need to be treated as adults, by the legal system. They should not have their identities hidden, and they should, at the very least, have to face the knowledge that everyone knows who they are and what they have done.

  • Jackie Barrett
    October 02, 2012 - 06:57

    As a person with multiple disabilities including Autism, Learning Disability, and Speech Impairment, I had to endure abusive behaviour including name calling, kids throwing rocks and spitballs at me, and getting my head bashed into the lockers during my Junior High days, and teachers often turned a blind eye to this abuse. Even when I was in university, I had to endure abusive behaviour from some students including women I like rejecting gifts from me, and one woman even accused me of something I didn't do and administration was stupid enough to accept this complaint without any physical evidence at all. This discrimination was even worse after I graduated from university, not because of bullying or name calling, but because even though I have great educational credentials, employers didn't give me a chance to prove myself. I was left taking short term contractual jobs. Fed up with abusive and discriminatory behaviour, especially from employers, that's the reason why I decided to leave my home province, Nova Scotia, and move to Newfoundland where people are accepting towards disabled people and they are given a chance to prove themselves in the workplace without facing hidden stereotypes from employers like I experienced in Halifax. When I heard about this recent attack towards a disabled person in the St. John's area, since Newfoundland and Labrador is supposed to be a socially liberal and accommodating culture, I'm really disappointed these hooligans would stoop this low to abuse and rob a disabled man. I thought that this province was much different from my home province, Nova Scotia. In light of this heinous attack, this province is now just as worse as Nova Scotia. If there was an appropriate punishment for these children, I would love to see them face hefty jail time, face hefty fines and punitive damages, be forced to undergo disability awareness training, and be banned from being involved with Special Olympics for life. Even better, every school in Newfoundland and Labrador should make disability, racial, religious, gender, and sexual orientation sensitivity training mandatory so that what happened to this disabled man will never happen again.

  • Jack
    October 02, 2012 - 06:42

    With more and more heinous attacks against disadvantaged people occurring, especially with kids from great families, perhaps now is the time for the Harper Government to truly get tough on crime and impose tougher sentences on anyone committing a crime against disabled persons, visible minorities, aboriginals, religious minorities, homosexuals, and women. For example, if you're convicted of a crime that targeted a disabled person, you should be subjected to a punishment up to double the maximum sentence and/or fine.

    • Watcher
      October 02, 2012 - 15:07

      Right. So in your opinion committing a crime against a straight white male deserves only half the jail time? Quite the racist comment.

  • mickey mouse justice
    October 02, 2012 - 06:20

    BOOT CAMP TIME, but i don't want to get those hug-a-thug die-heart liberals out there all upset and say its cruel to send my johnny to boot camp.