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Condo thief likely to reoffend, decides St. John’s judge

Dominic Delisle, 30, is escorted into provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday, where he was denied bail.
Dominic Delisle is escorted into provincial court during an earlier appearance. - File photo

Dominic Delisle wouldn’t have confessed to apartment heist if not for media scrutiny, judge says

Criminal harassment, assault, intimidation, weapons offences, drugs, counterfeit money, living off the avails of prostitution and more — the criminal record of Dominic Delisle, 31, is heavy and dates back to when he was young.

There’s a good chance his criminal activity will continue when he’s let out of jail, a provincial court judge said Friday.

“He has spent most of life incarcerated,” Judge James Walsh noted of Delisle, a Quebec native who moved to St. John’s last year. “Given his record, it appears that Mr. Delisle is likely to continue with the pattern of behaviour. ... The lack of a gap in the record speaks volumes about what the future will likely hold.”

Consequently, Walsh rejected Delisle’s argument for a sentence that essentially amounted to time served, giving him a term of 15 months at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary instead.

Delisle and his wife, 34-year-old Sarah Daneault, rented a furnished condo in the Rabbittown neighbourhood of St. John’s last October, and Delisle signed the one-year lease under a fake name.

After trying unsuccessfully to collect a number of rent payments and finding the couple’s phone numbers to be out of service, the landlord entered the apartment to find it cleaned out of everything except the dishwasher, washer and dryer. Video surveillance revealed the couple had vacated the apartment days earlier with the help of a hired moving company.

Delisle’s father, a Quebec City-based lawyer, told the court his son had left him a voicemail, confessing to what he did and telling him that the furnishings were in a Quebec City storage locker. Delisle agreed to let his father contact police. The RNC issued a media release with photos of Delisle and Daneault, asking the public for assistance in tracking them down.

A month later, on April 9, Delisle was driving on Torbay Road when RNC officers recognized him and attempted to arrest him. He led police on a chase before eventually ditching the vehicle and running, but was caught and has been in jail ever since. The condo items, with an estimated value of $30,000, were shipped back to the landlord at her own cost.

Delisle – who is listed on the national sex offender registry and was once deemed by the Parole Board of Canada to be a danger to women – pleaded guilty to charges of theft over $5,000, impersonation, fleeing police and violating the terms of a sex offender registry order (for not notifying police he had moved to Newfoundland or signing in as required). At his sentencing hearing last month, he admitted he is “not a priest,” and “made a lot of mistakes,” telling the judge he wanted to go back to school. He told the court of issues he has with HMP, notably that he is denied access to French reading materials, outdoor recreation and a low-fat diet, which he requires due to a cholesterol condition. HMP staff frustrated his access to his lawyers, which included his father’s firm, he said.

“I don’t mind to pay for what I did, I understand that, but you have to provide basic rights. We are in Canada, we are not in Canadakistan,” Delisle told the court.

Calling defence lawyer Randy Piercey’s suggested sentence of nine months minus time served, sentencing Delisle to 15 months instead. With credit given at an enhanced rate for the time he has spent at HMP, Delisle has about seven months left to serve behind bars.

“The theft involved here was bold and calculated,” Walsh said in bringing down his sentence. “It involved planning on the accused’s behalf.”

Walsh noted Delisle’s confession to police and his guilty pleas, but said they only went so far.

“I note that Mr. Delisle’s moment of enlightenment was precipitated by the intense media scrutiny and, in particular, his attempt to shield his co-accused from criminal liability,” Walsh said. “This sign of having a conscience indicates that the rehabilitation could be a possible outcome for Mr. Delisle. While I acknowledge that Mr. Delisle was co-operative with police eventually, the fact of the matter is that if there had not been the media scrutiny, I’m not satisfied he would have come forward.”

Daneault, who is not in custody, has pleaded not guilty to theft over $5,000 in relation to the condo, and will go to trial in December.

Tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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