Michael Ellis is a serial law-breaker whose latest offense was terrorizing those who had the misfortune of driving down Westside Road July 31, 2012, while he was on a drug-fuelled run from police.
With the series of convictions related to that high-profile police chase under his belt, the list of criminal acts Ellis has been found guilty of amounts to 56, prompting B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Josephson on Tuesday to order a dangerous offender assessment — the first step in a lengthy process that could see Ellis indefinitely behind bars.
Josephson, who in February convicted Ellis, now 41, of crimes related to the aforementioned chase, explained that the bar for approving the assessment is quite low, and that the prosecution easily made its case.
Crown counsel Murray Kaay explained that Ellis’s numerous criminal convictions demonstrated a persistent behaviour type and penchant for acts that could cause serious personal injury. It’s behaviour he’s either unwilling or unable to reign in, as he also shows a high level of indifference to his crimes.
It is a combination of traits already recognized by the courts in the wake of the 1997 robbery, when Ellis’s sentencing judge said he had a horrific record and warned he was “rapidly running out of options.”
That didn’t stop Ellis who continued to rack up convictions, robbing banks and committing various other crimes while on bail, probation or parole.
It’s never been made clear what prompts Ellis to continually break the law, or whether he has any interest in changing his behaviour.
During a stay in a federal prison around 2001, a report preceding his mandatory release highlighted the fact that he never partook in any self-improvement programming – except for methadone treatment –and that he was continually abusive to prison staff.
He was considered to have an “inexcusable temper” and was believed to be at high risk to reoffend.
A report at that time also showed that he demonstrated antisocial and narcissistic personality features.
More recent attempts to assess Ellis have been rejected, and he recently refused to participate in a pre-sentencing report which would delve into his history.
Ellis’s lawyer, John Gustafson argued against the assessment, noting that the crimes that his client had previously been convicted of were of a different character than the spur-of-the-moment chase for which he’s awaiting sentencing.
Those, he explained, took forethought which his client hadn’t displayed in the case at hand.
For the July 2012 chase that ran down Westside Road from West Kelowna to the outer reaches of Vernon, Ellis was originally charged with several counts of attempted murder along with the weapons and robbery charge that he’s yet to be sentenced for. He was acquitted of the attempted murder charges.
The assessment could be completed by August, at which time the next step in the process will be laid out.