By Craig Campbell, News Staff
A $300-a-day Oxycontin and Percocet addiction is blamed as the driving force behind Anthony Clark’s involvement in an armed robbery of Kevin Martin Fine Jewellery in downtown Dundas three years ago.
Clark, 26 at the time, was waiting in a nearby Tim Hortons while three other men used a loaded, sawed-off shotgun he provided to hold up staff at the King Street West store on Nov. 10, 2011. Justice Dale Parayeski sentenced Clark to five years in jail for the Dundas robbery. All the others involved have already been sentenced.
Clark was sentenced to an additional 90 days for possession of jewelry stolen from a Hamilton pawn shop less than four months before the Kevin Martin Jewellery store theft. He received credit for just over 800 days served prior to sentencing.
Clark was out on bail for the previous charge when the Dundas armed robbery was planned and committed. Five years is the minimum sentence Clark could have received.
Justice Parayeski ordered $7,000 in cash seized from Clark when arrested be returned to Dundas businessman Kevin Martin. But Crown Attorney James Vincelli’s request for a restitution order in the amount of $150,000 to cover the wholesale cost of the stolen jewelry was declined by the judge.
Justice Parayeski said there is no reasonable expectation Clark could ever earn the money to pay back Martin, given his limited education. Court heard he has Grade 8 equivalency.
Clark’s defence attorney, Andrew Confente, said Clark was raised by a single mother after his father was murdered when Clark was four years old. Clark was running his own business – a roofing contractor called Phat Tony – and had two children from two different relationships.
Confente told court his client developed prescription drug addictions after being prescribed pain killers Oxycontin and Percocet for injuries he had suffered about six years ago. According to Confente, Clark would exhaust his month-long prescription in a couple of days and spend the rest of the month trying to get more drugs.
“His focus in life was satisfying the dependency,” Confente said. “To get money to satisfy his addiction was the driving force of the robbery.”
Clark’s lawyer told court another factor in the downward spiral that contributed to his client’s illegal activity was the death of his sister close to the period of the two robberies.
But Confente also said Clark went on Methadone after he entered custody to help kick his drug habit and has recently concluded the treatment.
Confente argued mitigating factors, including a guilty plea before trial, Clark’s relatively young age and lack of previous time in a penitentiary result in the legislated minimum sentence being appropriate.
“But for the minimum sentence, I’d be putting forward a lesser sentence for Mr. Clark,” Confente said.
Vincelli argued Clark was the key planner of the Dundas jewelry store robbery, despite not being in the store during the incident. More importantly, the Crown told court, Clark provided the loaded, sawed-off shotgun to the other three robbers.
“That death or injury did not occur is a matter of luck and Mr. Clark should not be rewarded for that,” Vincelli said. “He had others perform his dirty work while he paraded in front of a security camera at Tim Hortons to create an alibi. He has the same lack of respect for human life as the rest of the crew he organized to commit the offense.”
Vincelli pointed out Clark was on bail at the time of the Dundas jewellery store robbery, and among his bail conditions was not possessing guns.
“Terms of bail are not suggestions. They are court orders that must be respected,” Vincelli said.
He argued the five year minimum was just a starting point, and that seven years would be more suitable, plus 90 days for possession of stolen jewelry from the earlier pawn shop robbery. The judge didn’t accept the Crown’s argument that supplying the loaded weapon showed intent to commit a violent act.
“But it is evidence of careless disregard,” Justice Parayeski said.