Two of the three people who led Mounties on a high speed shootout down Westside Road in the summer of 2012 were sentenced this week, with vastly different outcomes.
Crown counsel and defence lawyers for Ashley Collins, 20, and Shawn Wysynski, 34, offered Justice Peter Rogers joint sentencing submissions Friday morning and he accepted their recommendations, offering insights into the man and woman before him as he made decisions on their respective futures.
Collins, who earlier pleaded guilty to knowingly being in a vehicle with illegal firearms, was given a suspended sentence of 18 months and 18 months of probation.
As she and her two companions took part in multiple car jackings over the course of a drug-fuelled car chase with police, Collins was seen hopping in and out of vehicles, seemingly at times encouraging the men to back away from the people they were terrorizing.
Considering the gravity of the crime she was involved with, the sentence may seem light, but Collins was depicted as a drug-addled teen who just chose to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She was never spotted holding a gun, although she was miraculously the only person to sustain a bullet wound as both Mounties and her car mates let loose countless shots.
The product of what Rogers characterized as “an uneven and unhappy childhood,” Collins had gotten in the swing of making poor decisions by the time of the shootout, but had yet to rack up a criminal record.
The events of July 31, 2012 may just be the peak of her poor behaviour. Since her arrest, she’s held down a steady job and stopped using drugs and alcohol.
The stark difference between her life before and after that day led her to tell her parole officer that it was “the worst day of (her) life and the best day.”
“As a result of her wounds, she lost a kidney,” Justice Rogers said. “I have no doubt when she looks at that scar she will be reminded of the value of leading a productive life.”
Wysynski, on the other hand, has fewer future options, in Rogers estimation.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of armed robbery and one charge of attempted armed robbery, and was sentenced to nine years in prison, less time served, at Friday’s hearing.
Wysynski was seen at least once over the course of the chase menacing someone with a gun, although it’s unclear if he ever shot at anyone.
“He’s made a living by stealing and being involved with drugs, from the age of 15 to July 31, 2012,” said Rogers. “He’s never held a job, never been a productive member of society, and always been supported by theft… he’s a habitual criminal.”
That said, Wysynski has never been in a federal prison before, and the drug and counselling programs there could go a long way to taking him off that path.
“Wysynski has no attachment to normal society,” said Rogers. “It makes him difficult to deal with. I’m not optimistic that whatever programs available to him while he’s in custody will have a rehabilitative effect… but never say never. Mr. Wysynski may surprise us all.”
Now that Wysynski and Collins have been sentenced, the third party involved in the chase, Michael Ellis, can have his trial resume. He’s facing 22 charges, five of which are attempted murder.