Man who pulled utility knife on officers gets 4 1/2-month jail term

Rosie Mullaley
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Judge warns 25-year-old he will get longer sentence if he breaks law again

He may not have hurt anyone, but when Mitchell Wall pulled a utility knife on officers who tried to stop him from stealing, he made the crime a more serious one.

Mitchell Wall was in provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday morning for his sentencing hearing.

“It wasn’t used for the purpose to inflict injury, but it separates it from a typical shoplifting incident,” Judge Mark Linehan said during Wall’s sentencing hearing at provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday.

“You used the weapon to facilitate you getting out of there.”

Linehan sentenced Wall to 131 days in jail. He gave Wall 121 days’ credit (1.5 times credit for 81 days already spent in custody), leaving 10 days left to serve.

The sentence also included two years’ probation.

“It’s unfortunate there’s been an escalation of violence,” the judge said to Wall.

“In the future, you can expect a stiffer sentence.”

The 25-year-old St. John’s man pleaded guilty to two counts of theft under $5,000, a single count of assault and several charges of breaching court orders.

On March 11 at 2:30 p.m., Wall swiped a hoodie from the racks at Labels in the Village Mall and put it in his knapsack. An employee saw him and yelled for him to return it, but Wall shouted obscenities at her and took off. The employee recognized Wall, having grown up in the same neighbourhood, and called police.

The more serious theft happened a month later.

On April 13, Wall went into Wal-Mart in Mount Pearl, stuffed nine blu ray movies — valued at $458 — under his shirt and left without paying.

A security guard spotted him and followed him outside the store.  An RNC patrol officer in an unmarked car saw the guard chasing the man and also followed Wall.

When they got close, Wall took the utility knife from his pocket and held it towards the men. He then jumped in a car, but backed into another car, at which time the RNC officer and security guard managed to stop him.

Wall was originally charged with robbery, but the Crown agreed to amend the charge to theft, since the incident involving the knife happened some time after he took the movies.

In sentencing Wall, the judge went along with an agreed recommendation from Crown prosecutor Shawn Patten and defence lawyer Tammy Drover.

Patten said Wall has a lengthy criminal record, which includes three previous convictions for theft. He added that this was Wall’s first violent crime.

Drover pointed out that the items in both thefts were recovered. She said Wall had drug addiction issues and is on a methadone program. She said he hopes to improve his life and plans to return to school.

Meanwhile, Wall will be back in court next week to deal with a charge of mischief, stemming from an incident at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary last month.

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Wal-Mart

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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