Before Josh Foley was handcuffed and taken to jail, his mother held him tightly and cried.
“I love you,” she said before breaking down sobbing.
“I love you, too,” Foley told her, forcing himself to smile at her as sheriff’s officers led him out of the courtroom.
It was his first brush with the law. When the courtroom door closed, a half-dozen family members and friends huddled to comfort each other.
Foley was sentenced Tuesday at provincial court in St. John’s to almost two years in prison for his role in a violent home invasion in Conception Bay South last year.
The 20-year-old from Spaniard’s Bay had been found guilty of armed robbery, having his face masked and break and enter.
The invasion happened Jan. 24, 2010, when he, two other men and a youth forced their way into a man’s home in Conception Harbour. The two men and youth beat the man with a bat, while Foley waited by the door with a piece of pipe and his T-shirt held over his face. The man wasn’t seriously hurt, but suffered bruises and cuts to his head and legs.
Shortly after the incident, Foley, Justin Greenland and William Kennedy confessed to police.
Greenland and Kennedy pleaded guilty to several charges and were sentenced to four years in jail. The youth also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve time at a youth correctional facility.
Foley — who was not in custody while he awaited trial — got a shorter sentence than the other two adults.
Judge David Orr opted to give Foley a provincial sentence (less than two years) because he didn’t play a big part in the home invasion.
He said Foley was not involved in planning the offence, did not participate in the assault on the man and didn’t take anything from the man’s house.
Orr also pointed out that since the incident, Foley has taken steps to rehabilitate himself, has undergone extensive counselling and has upgraded his education.
“I’m satisfied that a provincial term is warranted …,” Orr said.
“That being said, this is a very serious offence which must be punished by a period of incarceration.”
Once Foley has finished serving his term in jail, he will be on two years’ probation with conditions that include that he abstain from consuming illegal drugs. He’s also banned from owning a weapon for 10 years and must submit a DNA sample to police.