VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Stanley Cup rioter Ryan Dickinson has been sentenced to 17 months in jail after pleading guilty to taking part in the smashup and breaking a court order.

The 20-year-old is the first person to plead guilty in the June 15, 2011 riot.

With credit for time already served, Dickinson is to spend 13-and-a-half months in jail, followed by two years probation. In addition, he’s to abide by a no-alcohol order.

In sentencing Dickinson on Thursday, Vancouver provincial court judge Malcolm MacLean said he didn’t buy the argument Dickinson simply got caught up in the moment, noting his past criminal record and the fact he was breaking a bail order from an earlier assault conviction when he went into downtown Vancouver the night of the Stanley Cup Final and smashed two police cars and a store window. 

MacLean said videos shown in court of Dickinson throwing a newspaper box and a police barricade at two cruisers showed a person who didn’t have a simple lapse of judgment.

“The video shows there were times that Mr. Dickinson could have walked away, but he did not,” MacLean said.

He noted Dickinson had a tough upbringing but indicated he wants to turn his life around and appears genuinely sorry.

Dickinson’s lawyer said the young man had nothing to say to the court before sentencing but he did present an apology letter written by Dickinson earlier in the week, saying he was ashamed and deeply embarrassed by his actions.

The Crown had recommended Dickinson serve up to 21 months in jail minus time served, while the defence argued one year behind bars was enough.

Outside court, Crown spokesperson Neil MacKenzie said the Criminal Justice Branch is satisfied with the sentence, and any other riot cases must be judged on their own merits. “I expect that going forward, we will see some cases in which the behaviour was more serious and we will see some cases where the behaviour was less serious,” he said.

“We’ll have to see as the other cases progress whether the accused enter guilty pleas or choose to set the matters down for trial,” MacKenzie said.  “But [Dickinson's sentence is] certainly the first one that’s been dealt with and obviously of some assistance to the courts in the future to have Judge MacLean’s reasons.”

Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu calls the sentence a victory for riot victims and the citizens of Vancouver.  “Our job is to present the best information we can and, like I say, one of our goals is to present very strong cases so the likelihood of a guilty plea is high.”

Chu said any future sentences depend on individual acts and the background of the accused.  “You do have some cases coming forward involving violence against innocent people, such as the good samaritan who tried to prevent the looting of The Bay,” he said.  “I believe those are cases that should be treated very seriously by the courts.”

Meanwhile, VPD Inspector Les Yeo, the head of the Integrated Riot Investigation Team, said on Thursday the Crown approved more riot-related charges.

“Eleven more charges against five suspected rioters, bringing to a total of 141 charges against 52 people,” said Yeo.
Three of the five suspects are young offenders.