Poppy tin thief gets federal prison time

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on February 14, 2012
Andrew Smith, 24 (right), is escorted into court by a sheriff offier. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A man who swiped almost a dozen poppy tins last November has been given a federal jail term.

Andrew Smith, 24, was sentenced today to two years plus a day in jail during his appearance in provincial court in St. John's.

He pleaded guilty to 10 poppy tin thefts, which were mostly from Tim Hortons. The total amount of money taken is unknown.

Smith also pleaded guilty to charges of fraud under $5,000 on ScotiaBank from December 2010, failing to show up for court in August 2011, theft of a bottle of Lambs from a liquor store from December 2011 and unlawfully entering a woman's house in January 2012. The most recent charges were committed when he was out on bail. He also pleaded guilty to breaching court orders.

In sentencing, Judge Greg Brown went along with an agreed recommendation from Crown prosecutor William Cadigan and duty counsel Jane Fitzpatrick.

"The public tends to view these (poppy tin thefts) in disgust," Brown said.

He said not only does it take away money from the Royal Canadian Legion for it's veterans, but also discourages people from donating money.

Smith has been in custody since January, but Fitzpatrick said he preferred not to be awarded any time for the time he's already spent in custody. Instead, he wants to go to a federal prison, where he's able to avail of better programming and counselling for his serious problem with drug addiction.

"Hopefully, you can change your life," the judge said before Smith was led out of the courtroom.