A homeless man who pleaded guilty to threatening to stab Vancouver police officers received one day in jail with credit for 38 days time already served from a Vancouver provincial court judge Friday.
Judge James Sutherland heard that, on Oct. 24, Torbin Jacaida Alec was in a parking garage at 780 Southwest Marine Dr. when officers went to check on him. From his initial comments, they had reason to believe he was trespassing, Crown prosecutor Catherine Bright said.
Alec, who was convicted of a 2012 Kamloops manslaughter, was with several others in the garage and underneath a sleeping bag when officers approached. Their initial questions were responded to with a stream of foul language.
They soon noticed a knife under Alec’s covers. He grabbed the four-inch blade knife and put it in a hoodie pocket. The court heard he then got up with the knife in his hand, the blade extended. The two officers drew their guns and asked him to get down.
Another officer then arrived with a bean-bag gun. Officers continued to ask Alec to comply, to get down on his belly, but he remained belligerent, the court heard.
Sutherland’s summation of events said it was at this point that Alec yelled, “Shoot me or I’ll stab you.”
Bright said Alec appeared more angry than suicidal.
Police then fired the bean-bag gun; even then, he tried to reach for the knife as more police arrived with a dog and Taser.
“Ultimately, Mr. Alec was taken into custody,” Bright said, adding he was taken to Vancouver General Hospital after the incident.
The Crown lawyer asked for a knife prohibition except for preparing or eating food.
“That knife prohibition is necessary for public safety,” Bright said.
However, defence lawyer Sonja Luck said knives are common for homeless people to use for protection. She also told the court Alec uses his to open objects and for his Indigenous carvings.
“Not having a knife would set him up for a breach,” she said. “He is a vulnerable person that is homeless. His only source of income is social assistance.”
“He uses them as implements to go along with his threats,” Sutherland said of Alec’s knives.
The judge noted Alec already has a weapons prohibition as part of a probation order. He said if he uses a knife again to threaten public safety, he would run afoul of that order.
In 2012, Alec stabbed Jesse Seymour six times, including twice in the heart, in a drunken fight outside a friend's house on July 15, 2012.
He was originally charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge partway through his 2014 trial.
He was sentenced to six years and labelled a high risk to reoffend by the Parole Board of Canada.
Alec also has convictions for uttering threats, assault with a weapon and robbery.