Judge urges authorities to help drug-addicted armed robber

Rosie Mullaley
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Man sentenced to 8-year jail term after pleading for help

A drug-addicted armed robber who pleaded to a judge for help will have plenty of time to get it.
William Macaulay was sentenced to eight years and three months in jail Thursday in provincial court in St. John’s.

William Macaulay is handcuffed by sheriff’s officers at provincial court in St. John’s Thursday after he was sentenced to eight years and three months for committing two armed robberies. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

The 42-year-old was given straight-time credit for the 77 days he has already spent in custody, leaving eight years and 13 days left on his term.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Jim Walsh said that while Macaulay has a long criminal record — which includes several armed robberies — he has indicated he wants to change his life.

“When imposing a sentence, I must be mindful that the total sentence is not a crushing one so that all hopes of rehabilitation would be lost,” the judge said. “Is Mr. Macaulay beyond rehabilitation? His record would suggest that he might be.

“However, his submissions to the court and to the police suggest that Mr. Macaulay wants to be rehabilitated, but will need help doing so.”

At his sentencing hearing two weeks ago, Macaulay begged Walsh to make a recommendation that he get enrolled at the Portage inmates’ drug rehabilitation centre in Quebec.

“It would mean the world to me if you could do this for me,” Macaulay had said to the judge at the hearing.

Walsh complied with that request, saying he “strongly encourages authorities” to make that program available for Macaulay — not only for Macaulay’s benefit, but for the public’s as well.

Macaulay admitted to committing two armed robberies last fall — one in September at the Esso gas station on Portugal Cove Road in St. John’s and one in October at Family Drug Mart, across the street.

When imposing a sentence, I must be mindful that the total sentence is not a crushing one so that all hopes of rehabilitation would be lost. Judge Jim Walsh

They marked the fifth and sixth armed robberies Macaulay has committed in the last seven years.

He pleaded guilty to several charges, including armed robbery, having his face masked and possessing a dangerous weapon.

He was arrested in dramatic fashion — caught in the act of holding up Family Drug Mart in the East Gate Plaza.

Police had surveillance on Macaulay after he was suspected of committing the robbery at the Esso station the week before.

When he entered the drugstore, police officers rushed in with guns drawn and arrested him.

When he was brought to RNC headquarters, Macaulay told officers he robbed money from the Esso to get drugs, and on the day he held up Family Drug Mart, he woke up craving drugs.

Crown prosecutor Kathleen O’Reilly had suggested a prison sentence of nine to 10 years. Defence lawyer Michelle Coady had asked for seven years.

Walsh said the sentence had to also consider the need to protect the public.

He said the trauma felt by the victims of the robberies is unimaginable, “and it will be felt for a while.”

As part of the sentence, Macaulay is banned from having a firearm for the rest of his life. He must also submit a DNA sample.



Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Esso

Geographic location: Quebec, Portugal Cove Road, East Gate Plaza.Police

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