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Kelowna  

Crown seeks 5-year sentence for man who robbed Kelowna TD Bank

5-year sentence for $200?

The man who robbed the Downtown Kelowna TD Bank earlier this year could spend another four years behind bars if the Crown has their way, all for $200.

Jason Miles, 48, was arrested on Jan. 29, 2020, shortly after he walked into the bank on Ellis Street just before 1 p.m. with a hooded jacket, a black balaclava on his face and rhinestone-studded sunglasses. He handed the teller a note:

“This is a robbery, do not attempt to hit alarm, I have a gun and will use it. Slow pass all the money from the till.”

On Tuesday, a sentencing hearing was held for Miles, following his guilty pleas in March to robbery and disguising his face. Miles had initially tried to claim he should not be found criminally responsible due to a mental disorder, but a psychiatric report found otherwise, and Miles pleaded guilty.

After receiving the note on the January afternoon, the teller handed Miles $200 in cash, along with $165 of "decoy cash" that contained a GPS tracker. Miles then “calmly” walked out of the bank.

Police arrived at the bank within five minutes and quickly began searching for the suspect around the downtown core. The GPS device was tracked to an alley near Picture Perfect & Perpetual Blooms on Lawrence Avenue, but the suspect had discarded the device near the store.

Meanwhile, several officers attended the nearby Cornerstone shelter on Leon Avenue, looking for someone who matched the description of the suspect. They noticed a man who they weren't familiar with, sporting a mohawk hair style and wearing a black tracksuit. One of the officers noted the man was “overly friendly with police.”

At 2:10 p.m., Police Service Dog Dex found a pile of clothes matching those worn by the suspect in a carport to the east of the bank. Video from a nearby security camera showed the suspect enter the carport, change out of a black parka, balaclava and gloves and leave the area wearing a black tracksuit. He had a distinctive mohawk hairstyle.

The officers who had previously been at Cornerstone shelter immediately recognized the suspect as the “overly friendly” man. They returned and arrested the man, who was identified as Miles.

In her sentencing submissions, Crown prosecutor Miho Ogi-Harris noted Miles told the arresting officers, “I didn't rob any bank,” before the officers had even mentioned any bank robbery.

Since his arrest, Miles has maintained that he doesn't remember committing the robbery, and claims he was in a state of psychosis due to his use of crack cocaine. In response, Ogi-Harris said the evidence of premeditation – having a change of clothes, writing the note in advance and finding and disposing of the GPS tracker – shows the robbery was far more planned than Miles has claimed.

Ogi-Harris also noted Miles' lengthy criminal record dating back to 1990, that includes 16 violent convictions, including a sexual assault and assault with a weapon. A presentence report found he is at a high-risk for committing future violent acts, due in part to his lack of insight into his criminal behaviour.

As a result, Ogi-Harris asked for a five-year total sentence for the two convictions, but Miles is owed about 10 months for enhanced presentence credit, since he's been incarcerated since January.

Miles' defence counsel Michael Stephenson argued instead for a sentence of just under three years, that would see Miles end up with one day less than two years left on his sentence. This would allow Miles to serve a provincial sentence, and end up with a period of probation after his release, which Stephenson said would help with Miles' drug rehabilitation.

Miles was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and was addicted to narcotics at birth. He's struggled with drug addiction for much of his life and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2017.

Judge Lisa Wyatt questioned Miles' rehabilitation prospects, noting, “we've got a 48-year-old who's been offending for 30 years and has a significant history of violent offences ... he's been to treatment, he's been in provincial jails, so he's had probation orders I'm sure.”

Miles told Judge Wyatt he hasn't had significant treatment for his addiction, and he pleaded with her to consider a provincial sentence with probation.

Judge Wyatt reserved her sentencing decision for sometime in the next month.



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