A man who thrice beat his customers while selling drugs in Merritt pleaded guilty to assault charges in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Dean Leclerc, 26, was placed on strict probation orders by Justice N. Smith. He was granted credit for a nine-month custodial sentence, having served more than four months in custody.
His offences occurred in July 2009, before the law was changed to eliminate double credit for time served.
Leclerc was a member of a criminal gang known as the Surrey Boys when he went to Merritt to sell drugs.In the middle of the night, he forced his way into the home of a man and woman known to have purchased drugs from him. After the woman calmed him down, Leclerc went to sleep and the couple went back to bed.
Later that day, Leclerc went on another violent tirade in the home, claming that someone had stolen his drugs. He punched the woman and smashed a TV and microwave. Police learned second-hand of the first two assaults.
Two weeks later, when Leclerc returned to the couple’s home looking for the male, he assaulted the woman again. He tied her upper arms with zip-straps and pushed her to the floor so that he could search for the man, who was hiding. After that incident, the couple went to police.
Leclerc and two other males were arrested at the Prince Motel, where he was staying. They seized zip-strap, digital scales and marijuana along with 119 packages of cocaine. Crown did not proceed with drug charges because a search warrant had not been obtained.
Defence lawyer Michael Klein said Leclerc had a difficult upbringing but has made efforts to turn his life around. He became addicted to crystal meth at age 16 and then got involved in criminal activity, though he had no prior record. His time in jail served to break the cycle, Klein said.
Since then, Leclerc obtained full-time employment as a swamper on a garbage truck and has reconnected with his estranged father.
Smith noted that similar offences can earn up to five years in prison, but Leclerc’s lack of a prior record was a mitigating factor in sentencing. Leclerc must take counselling as directed, consume no alcohol or drugs and provide a DNA sample. He is also subject to a 10-year firearms prohibition.