He chose to stay downtown as the Stanley Cup riot was breaking out, then encouraged others to join in, prosecutors say. Now the Crown wants Emmanuel Alviar to receive a four-month jail term, despite the fact he turned himself in and has no criminal record.
Mr. Alviar, 20, appeared in Provincial Court in Vancouver on Thursday for his sentencing hearing. He is the second person charged with participating in the incident to reach the sentencing stage, nearly 11 months after the riot left more than $3-million in damage.
The first person, Ryan Dickinson, was handed a 17-month sentence in February, minus 3 1/2 months credit for time served. However, Mr. Dickinson's case was something of an anomaly. Unlike many of the people charged in connection with the riot, he already had a criminal record for assault. On the night of the riot, he was caught on video throwing a newspaper box at two unmarked police vehicles.
The video of Mr. Alviar, however, was much less compelling, and his lawyer characterized his participation as "minor."
Crown prosecutor Patti Tomasson said Mr. Alviar took part in the riot at three different points. In the first instance, he kicked debris toward a vehicle that had already been lit on the fire. The debris did not make contact.
In the second instance, Mr. Alviar began pushing a parked vehicle. This led others to join in. Although Mr. Alviar quickly backed away, the vehicle was badly damaged and ultimately written off.
In the third incident, Mr. Alviar threw a barricade at a large storefront window.
Ms. Tomasson said Mr. Alviar should receive a four-month jail term. Not only did he choose to head downtown when Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final was almost over, she said, but he stayed for a number of hours when the trouble began. Ms. Tomasson said Mr. Alviar's length of stay indicates he was enjoying himself and not merely caught up in the moment.
After the jail term, Ms. Tomasson said Mr. Alviar should be put on probation and have to do 50 to 100 hours of community service. The Crown is not seeking financial restitution.
Gary Botting, Mr. Alviar's lawyer, agreed his client should have to do extensive community service. However, instead of a jail term he said Mr. Alviar should receive a conditional sentence. He said Mr. Alviar has learned from the incident and it would be counterproductive to fill jails with promising young men.
"There are bigger fish to fry," he said.
The judge reserved his decision. The sentence will likely be handed down late this month or in early June.
Mr. Alviar briefly addressed the court, reading a statement aloud. He apologized to the people of Vancouver and said he is ashamed of his actions.
"I am truly sorry for what I have done," he said, adding he takes full responsibility.
Ms. Tomasson read a victim-impact statement from the owner of the vehicle that Mr. Alviar pushed. The owner said her BMW was so badly damaged that the tires were the only identifiable part left. She said she has experienced bouts of anxiety since the incident and is out several thousand dollars.
Ms. Tomasson also questioned Mr. Alviar's sincerity. She said during an interview for his presentencing report, he said he wouldn't have parked his car on the street before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, since a riot seemed inevitable. This, she said, suggested he was putting the blame on the victim.
The sentence Mr. Alviar receives will surely be closely watched by others charged in the riot who don't have criminal records.
Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch, wouldn't say whether the Crown will seek jail time in all of its riot cases.
"We're dealing with these on a case-by-case basis, on the individual circumstances, the facts of the alleged accused," he told reporters outside court. "I don't want to speculate at this point on the position Crown is going to take in any other cases that may result after a guilty plea, or on trial."