Man involved in violent robbery gets jail time

Rosie Mullaley
Published on February 18, 2014
Paul Michael Gavin was sentenced to nine months in jail for his involved in a violent robbery in October 2011. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A St. John’s man who took part in a brutal beating of a man to steal prescription pills has been sent to jail for the first time in his life.

In provincial court, Paul Michael Gavin — who had no prior criminal record — was sentenced to a nine-month prison term, with three months’ probation, Monday after he pleaded guilty to robbery.

A charge of assault causing bodily harm was withdrawn by the Crown in exchange for the guilty plea.

The 21-year-old is the third person to be convicted in connection with the incident, which happened almost 2 1/2 years ago.

Jessica Bonnell, who was also involved, and Allison Clements, who arranged the attack and robbery, both received nine-month sentences for their part. A fourth man, Dillon Downer, is also suspected of being involved, but has not been located by police. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

“Although you weren’t setting it up, you were certainly involved with carrying it out,” Judge Lois Skanes said to Gavin in handing down his sentence.

The attack happened about 5:25 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2011, in the parking lot of Bowring Park.

The victim had broken into a house in Shea Heights and texted Clements to tell her he had Percocet and Oxycontin pills. He asked if she wanted to get high with him. She accepted and arranged to have him meet her at the west entrance of the park.

When he arrived, he said Clements, Bonnell, Gavin and  Downer attacked him, dragging him out of his car and assaulting him. They took his pills, his wallet and his hoodie, then took off. Their plan was to sell the drugs.

Police arrived minutes later after getting a report from a nearby resident that a group of people had beat up a man and sped off in a four-door sedan. The resident said after they left, the man, with a bloodied face, was walking up and down the street crying.

The man was taken to hospital, where he was treated for a fractured  orbital bone (eye socket).

It took a while before police laid charges, as the man refused to talk. However, about a month after the incident, he told them what happened, and admitted he committed the break-ins.

He was sentenced shortly afterwards and was out of jail before the group even had their cases come to court.

Crown prosecutor Lisa Stead had suggested Gavin be jailed for two years, noting that the men did most of the beating in the offence. Defence lawyer Tony St. George said his client should get the same sentence as his co-accused. He also noted that Gavin hadn’t been in trouble with the law before and was only 18 at the time.

Skanes agreed that nine months was appropriate.

As part of Gavin’s sentence, he was ordered to submit a DNA sample and is banned from having weapons f­or 10 years. As part of his probation, he was ordered to have no contacts with the victim and the other three people involved in the attack.

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