A St. John's man who took part in a 2013 prison riot that was said to have involved a hostage-taking has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Julien Matthew Squires was sentenced Monday in provincial court in St. John’s.
The 26-year-old was on remand at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary at the time of the incident and was given credit for the 102 days he’s spent in custody. That leaves 14 1/2 months left on his term.
Squires pleaded guilty last week to hostage-taking and mischief by damaging property at HMP.
“I made a mistake and I want to put this behind me,” Squires told Judge David Orr. “I want to start a new life when I get out (of jail).”
Squires was one of six inmates arrested in connection with the incident, but the only one to plead guilty to the more serious offence of hostage-taking.
Justin Owens and Philip Hollihan both pleaded guilty to obstructing, interrupting or interfering with the lawful use or operation of property. Owens was sentenced to six months in jail. Hollihan will be sentenced April 15.
Justin Hopkins pleaded guilty to mischief by damaging property.
Justin Wiseman and Adam Hayden are having a preliminary inquiry instead of a trial, as originally planned.
All six were also originally charged with hostage-taking, stemming from an incident that happened Aug. 5 of last year.
The prisoners reportedly caused a riot, taking an inmate as hostage. The men demanded cigarettes in exchange for the hostage.
The damage to HMP was said to have been extensive, with broken doors, smashed windows and ceilings and walls ruined.
The group’s rampage caused close to $100,000 in damage to the 3B unit.
The prisoners involved in the riot threatened to kill the hostages and corrections officers. They demanded cigarettes.
When officers delivered the cigarettes, hostages were released. The inmates surrendered shortly afterwards.
Squires was said to have been involved in the negotiations with police by shouting through a window.
Orr’s sentence was in keeping with a recommendation by defence lawyer Nick Avis, who said that identity was an issue in the case. While the inmates were masked and it was dark, Squires was spotted on a surveillance camera by his voice and body language.
Crown prosecutor Shawn Patten had suggested a 21-month sentence.
In handing down his decision, Orr noted that Squires has a history of not abiding by court orders and that the trouble he caused at HMP was just another example of how Squires refused to abide by rules.
Squires is also banned from having weapons for the rest of his life.