(News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo woman committed armed robberies to fuel drug habit

Caroline Green, 50, had sentencing hearing in Nanaimo court on Friday

A Nanaimo woman who pleaded guilty to a pair of September 2016 armed robberies in Harewood is hoping to avoid jail time.

Caroline Green, 50, brandished a 10-inch kitchen knife and demanded money at both the Fairview Corner Store on Second Street and Super Save Gas on Wakesiah Avenue on Sept. 17, 2016. In the gas station robbery, the gas station owner’s son suffered a cut to his index finger and required 10 stitches. Green suffered a cut after a struggle with the corner store owner when he struck her hand with a baseball bat.

Green had a sentencing hearing in provincial court in Nanaimo on Friday and while Judge J. Douglas Cowling didn’t render a decision, Chris Churchill, Green’s legal counsel, sought a range from a suspended sentence to five-and-a-half months’ jail followed by probation.

Churchill said that Green was addicted to crack cocaine at the time, but was a model citizen before and after the incidents.

Green has a good history of employment and no prior convictions. Her father died of lung disease in 2012 and her partner died of cancer in 2014, according to Churchill. That together with an addiction to alcohol led to Green’s anxiety becoming unmanageable. Churchill said she became depressed and was unable to hold down a full-time job, went on welfare, disability benefits and moved to a supportive housing facility and was exposed to illicit drugs, something with which she had no previous experience.

RELATED: Woman arrested for Nanaimo armed robbery

Green tried crack cocaine in July 2016 and became “almost instantly addicted.” She burned through her savings, Churchill said, citing a pre-sentencing report. She was pressured to pay up and was coerced to commit the robberies by a man because she felt threatened.

Churchill said Green has done well since the incidents, performing well on her bail order and working hard to remain clean and sober. She is ashamed of her actions and how it has impacted her family and is very remorseful.

Green does volunteer work, including tutoring students in English and with Meals on Wheels and Churchill said she is at very low risk of re-offending.

Churchill said Green, who moved to Canada from England when she was eight, isn’t a Canadian citizen and could face deportation. Any sentence longer than six months will lead to Green losing the right to appeal a deportation order, he said.

Frank Dubenski, Crown counsel, is seeking a 16-month jail sentence.

Legal counsel are expected to schedule a date for Cowling’s ruling on April 3.


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