KENTVILLE, NS – Judge Daniel MacRury didn’t mince his words when sentencing a Greenwood man to nearly seven years in prison for his role in a violent robbery in Kentville.
“Your actions in relation to the home invasion were reprehensible, cowardice and the primary function of this court is to denounce your conduct and to hold you accountable,” said MacRury, outlining the facts of the case during a continuation of a sentencing hearing for 29-year-old Franklin Dale McKay in Kentville provincial court April 19.
“The sentence I am going to impose is a lengthy federal sentence to reflect society’s abhorrence for your conduct and send a message to you and to others.”
Violent home invasion
McKay sat quietly with his hands folded on his lap and his eyes, at times glossy, fixed on MacRury as the judge reviewed the facts from the home invasion that occurred in an apartment on Academy Street in Kentville Jan. 4.
“The accused stabbed (the victim) in the chest and on the throat. I’ve had an opportunity to review the pictures. This was a robbery with extreme violence in somebody’s home,” said MacRury.
“The victim was duct taped as well as threatened that if he went to the police… he would be cut up and left in the woods.”
The court previously heard that McKay stabbed the man living in the apartment during an altercation, or “targeted assault,” that ensued after two more men, each concealing their face, barged into the apartment while the two were having a conversation around 5 a.m.
McKay, one of three men charged in relation to the home invasion, placed duct tape across the victim’s mouth and bound his hands.
A number of items were stolen after the apartment was ransacked, including roughly 300 grams of marijuana, grinders, bongs, sunglasses, a TV, laptop, a digital safe, the keys to the apartment and a credit card.
McKay pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated assault charges March 27, prompting a joint sentencing recommendation for two six-and-a-half year sentences to be served concurrently for each count.
MacRury asked Crown Jim Fyfe and defence lawyer Zeb Brown to prepare written submissions detailing how the joint recommendation is within the range of sentencing prior to making his decision April 19.
The judge identified several aggravating factors in the case: it was a home invasion, the crime committed was violent in nature, the victim has cerebral palsy, the victim was threatened with further harm if the police were contacted and McKay was supposed to be adhering to the conditions of a driving prohibition at the time of the offence.
“While the sentence is on the lower end of the range, it is within the range for these types of offences and I do accept their submission,” said MacRury, who noted that joint recommendations ought to be accepted unless the terms would be contrary to public interest or outside of the range of sentencing.
MacRury stated that he accepted McKay’s expressions of remorse for his actions and guilty pleas as mitigating factors.
McKay politely declined to offer further comments prior to his sentencing, thanking the judge for the opportunity but adding that he felt he said his piece during the sentencing hearing that was adjourned April 5 to allow the lawyers to provide the MacRury with more information regarding the range of sentencing.
“Your honour, this event has been quite an eye-opener for me,” he told MacRury at the time.
“I made a few mistakes in my past that has led me on my path that I have now.”
High-speed chase, pot in jail
McKay, who was arrested in Alberta on a Canada-wide warrant Feb. 16, was also before the court answering to several charges that were not related to the home invasion in Kentville.
He was ordered to serve an additional six months in custody for a handful of dangerous and impaired driving-related charges stemming from an incident wherein McKay was clocked at driving more than 210 km/h in an attempt to evade police after officers attempted to stop him on a Kings County highway Oct. 19, 2017.
McKay pleaded guilty to the driving offences, a separate charge of possessing not in excess of 30 grams of cannabis for an offence that occurred while he was in jail, and an additional charge of being at large within Canada before the expiration of a term of imprisonment in Dartmouth between Jan. 5 and 12.
The judge dealt with these charges by way of 30-day sentences.
MacRury ordered McKay to serve a total seven years and 30 days in custody, minus 52 days served on remand. He also imposed a lifetime ban on firearms, ammunition and explosive substances, a 12-year driving prohibition, victim fine surcharges of $200 per indictable counts and $100 for those dealt with summarily, a restitution order of $1,400 owed to the home invasion victim, and a non-contact order involving the same victim.
McKay has 10 years to settle the court-ordered payments.
“Mr. McKay, you certainly accepted responsibility and realized you have to change your ways. All I would say to you, sir, is that you’re going to be spending a long time in a federal institution. You should look around. If you’re not going to change your ways, you’re going to spend most of your life there,” said MacRury.
“You’re too young of a man to be doing that. You could be doing better things than that – but that’s up to you.”
Human trafficking allegations
McKay’s day in court is not over yet. It is alleged McKay committed a number of human trafficking-related offences in Greenwood between Jan. 1, 2015, and Jan. 4, 2018, including recruiting, transporting and exercising control and direction over the movements of an individual for the purpose of exploiting her; receiving a financial benefit from human trafficking, withholding a document for the purpose of committing an offence and receiving a material benefit from sexual services.
The human trafficking charges have not been proven in court, and McKay is scheduled to return to the courthouse May 15 for a previously set assault trial and election and plea regarding the human trafficking allegations.