VANCOUVER—A former beauty queen who stole bottled water and a bag of potato chips from London Drugs the night of the Stanley Cup riot won’t be saddled with a criminal record if she can make it though the next 16 months without breaking the law.
On Tuesday, provincial court Judge Brian Bastin handed Sophie Laboissonniere, who was once crowned Miss Congeniality in a local beauty contest, a conditional discharge, 16 months probation, a three-month curfew, and 60 hours of community-work service.
The Crown had asked for a two-month conditional jail sentence and probation for the 21-year-old, which would have allowed her to serve her time in the community but would have left her with a criminal record.
Bastin said Laboissonniere’s youth, lack of criminal record, guilty plea, mental-health condition, and post-offence conduct working with high-school students were mitigating factors.
He said a criminal record would have serious, adverse consequences that would be disproportionate to the woman’s brief and impulsive conduct.
“Her actions on the night of June 15, 2011 were very irresponsible,” said Bastin. “She acknowledges that, and since that day she has done all that could be reasonably expected of her to try to right the wrong she committed.”
Bastin said one of the main reasons he handed Laboissonniere a conditional discharge was because of her mental-health condition, which he added lowered her blameworthiness.
The court heard that Laboissonniere was altering her medication at the time of the offence, which may have affected her impulse control.
“Upon a consideration of all that is before the court, I conclude on the special facts of this case that a discharge is in the interests of the accused and not contrary to the public interest.”
Laboissonniere’s lawyer David Baker called the case exceptional, and while a discharge is an unusual sentence for a riot case, his client’s circumstances warranted the sentence.
“She’s had some history of mental illness in the past, which may have contributed to her decision to go in,” he said outside of court after the sentencing.
Baker said his client received “exorbitant” media attention after the offence, but house also visited local schools, lecturing about the consequences of poor-decision making.
The court also heard that the young woman paid London Drugs $500 in restitution and apologized to the company for her actions.
Baker also said he had no doubt his client would get through the next 16 months without incident.
“She’s never been in any trouble in the past and I don’t see that happening in (the) future,” he said, noting Laboissonniere will now focus on her schooling and her future.
Laboissonniere is not the first Stanley Cup rioter to receive a conditional sentence. Matthew Lennox was also handed a conditional discharge in June, partly because a video showed his demeanour, which was described as calm.
The judge also said Lennox didn’t not appear to incite the riot and his behaviour was described as an “aberration.”
With files from The Canadians Press