A hockey rioter from Burnaby was led into jail in handcuffs on Friday after admitting to rioting and spitting at and assaulting police officers, behaviour the judge called "despicable and cowardly."
Sean Yates, 23, of Burnaby, was sentenced to seven months in jail by Vancouver provincial court Judge Richard Low, who had harsh words for the man's actions during three hours on June 15, 2011.
Low called the "gross public disorder" Yates contributed to "shocking" and said the behaviour of rioters that night was "enormously disturbing" and caused "incalculable damage" to Vancouver's reputation.
He said a jail term was necessary for Yates to show others society won't tolerate criminal acts, particularly violence against police.
"There has to be a strong message of deterrence," said Low.
Low said the sentence would have been longer if not for Yates' "genuine remorse," his young age, his guilty plea and support from family and others.
Crown had asked for nine months in jail for each of the counts, to be served concurrently. Yates's lawyer recommended four to six months.
More than 20 video and photo exhibits showing Yates' actions after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup final were shown in court, including him taunting and pushing back a line of riot police behind shields and flinging objects at them.
He admitted spitting twice at one officer, hitting him in the head and arm, and flinging a glass "mickey" bottle at another, hitting the sergeant in the side of the head. Neither of those officers wore helmets or protective gear.
"It's a miracle he (the sergeant) wasn't injured," said Low.
Yates is also seen on video brandishing a metal rod and smashing windows at The Bay and Canada Post. He failed to leave downtown despite getting hit by police on the legs with a baton and after the broadcast of the "unlawful assembly" warning, Low noted.
Court heard he turned himself into police the next day after an ex-boss threatened to surrender him.
Crown prosecutor Rod Flannigan called Yates an instigator and said his actions were at the "higher range" of offences that night.
He said despite this being Yates' first time in court, jail time was necessary to denounce the crimes and deter others from rioting.
Yates' lawyer, Jim Heller, and his father both noted how Yates has matured since the riot. A psychologist's report said he took responsibility for his actions, was remorseful and had insight into his behaviour.
Yates read two apologies to the court, one to the officer he assaulted and the second to Vancouverites, accepting "full responsibility" for his "detestable" behaviour.
"Clearly I was a drunken mess," he said, adding that he hasn't had a drink in a year and has taken up yoga, martial arts and meditation and now volunteers and attends spiritual services.
He was sentenced to seven months on each count, to be served concurrently, plus a year's probation, during which he must abstain from alcohol and drugs and take counselling. He was also fined $500.
This is the fourth rioter to be sentenced and the third to get jail time.
First-time offender rioter Emmanuel Alviar was jailed for 30 days for rocking two vehicles and throwing an object at a shop window.
Another rioter without a prior record, Robert Snelgrove, was given five months of house arrest for looting beauty products from Sears.
Ryan Dickenson, who had a criminal record, was jailed for 16 months.