Other than spending a night in the St. John’s Lockup after she was arrested, Ashley Elizabeth Ryan has never been behind bars.
Next week, the 23-year-old — who fought violently with security guards to get away after stealing items from a
St. John’s department store — will begin serving a jail sentence.
Just how long she’ll spend behind bars will be decided soon — provincial court Judge Jim Walsh is scheduled to sentence Ryan on Monday.
During Ryan’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Ivany recommended Ryan go to prison for up to a year.
Defence lawyer Ken Hollett said a three- or four-month jail term is more appropriate.
Ryan (who also goes by Oliver) was found guilty of theft under $5,000, mischief by damaging property, assault causing bodily harm and two counts of assault with a weapon.
She was arrested on Sept. 15, 2012 after an incident at Pipers on Topsail Road.
She walked into the store and took items — including furniture and picture frames — and left without paying. When two security guards approached her on the parking lot, Ryan became angry and violent. The guards struggled with her, but she continued to fight. It became so serious, two men passing by stopped to help the guards.
During the struggle, Ryan pulled a can of bear spray out of her purse and sprayed the men. She also kicked a vehicle in the parking lot.
Ryan was released on bail shortly after her arrest. She has one conviction for theft from a few years ago on her criminal record. She was given a conditional discharge.
When she was arrested for the more recent offences, she told police she was having a bad reaction to medication, and once the drugs were out of her system, she was shocked to hear what she had done.
However, Ivany noted, “that didn’t appear to be her attitude when she testified (at her trial in April). “It didn’t reflect empathy for the victims.
“(Security guards) have a job to do and they have a right to be protected.”
Hollett said three or four months behind bars “will give her that rude awakening.”
He said Ryan spent time in foster homes as a child and was in several abusive relationships. Hollett said she is ready.
“Her past was shaped by adults who shaped her life, but her future is up to her, and she wants to do well.”
When Ryan was given the chance to speak in court, she apologized for what she did.
“It was a mistake,” she said. “I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll never be in that situation again.”