Judge Defies Prosecution on Outlaws MC Member’s Sentencing

A Brockville man convicted after a biker gang raid in 2018 has been sentenced to seven years and three months in jail, roughly half the time recommended by the prosecution.

Justice Brian Abrams said in Brockville court Monday that while Tom Bell chose a lifestyle of organized crime, he accepted Bell’s remorse was genuine.

“I think it more likely than not that the criminal courts have seen the last of Mr. Bell as an accused person,” said the judge.

Abrams had less charitable words for another convicted biker set to be sentenced at the same time, but who did not show up in court.

Both Crown and defence lawyers learned Monday morning that Norman Rosbottom, Jr. remained in Penetanguishene, where he is being held at the Central North Correctional Centre, rather than show up for sentencing. A visibly irritated Abrams said another sentencing date has to be set, and strongly hinted police should consider charging Rosbottom for the no-show.

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In December, Bell, 45, was found guilty of participating in a criminal organization, directing the commission of an indictable offence for a criminal organization, assault causing bodily harm, assault, home invasion and robbery, and kidnapping.

Bell has been out on bail under strict conditions.

In December, police said the convictions capped a process that began in 2016 with reports of activity by the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in the city. What started with reports of biker activity in 2016 led to a more focused investigation in 2018, and in December of that year, city police, with the help of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Biker Enforcement Unit, the Belleville Police Service and Kingston Police Service, executed a search warrant at 283 Park Street and Apartment 17 at 16 Cartier Court, in relation to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club and an Outlaws support club, the Dead Eyes Motorcycle Club.

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Crown Attorney Alan Findlay pressed for sentences of 14 years for Bell, and 17 years less pre-trial custody for Rosbottom, which would amount to 14 years and three months more time in jail.

Defence lawyer Robert Barr, representing Bell, had argued for a sentence between five and eight years, taking into account a credit of 19-and-a-half months for time spent in jail and house arrest bail conditions.

Abrams described Bell as a full-patch member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, adding he deliberately chose a lifestyle that included “a pattern of dedicated and organized criminality” around drug dealing.

The judge said the principles of denunciation, general deterrence, and protection of the public were most prominent in determining a sentence for Bell, in particular because organized crime is a greater threat to society than individual criminality.

But Abrams also took into account the fact this is Bell’s first penitentiary sentence, as well as his “supplication” seeking “redemption” for the harm he had done to others. Also factoring into the sentencing decision was the support Bell is receiving from his family, as well as his dedication to his wife and children.

The judge acknowledged that Bell’s victims were also members of the local criminal underworld, describing them as “reluctant, not vulnerable,” but stressed this consideration did not weigh in the sentencing because it did not diminish their victimization. He also noted the victims’ injuries were “transient.”

As for the Outlaws gang, Abrams agreed with the defence’s characterization of them as not particularly sophisticated organized criminals, calling them “amateurish in many ways.”

Some family members of Bell watched silently in the courtroom as court security officers escorted him away. Bell may be eligible for parole some two years, four months into his sentence.

Abrams had set aside the same session Monday morning to issue his sentencing decision for Rosbottom, 45, who was found guilty of participating in a criminal organization, assault causing bodily harm, assault, robbery with violence, kidnapping, uttering threats and trafficking cocaine.

However, it was learned that morning that Rosbottom was a no-show.

Findlay, however, said he was unaware of any transfusion and the facts before him were more consistent with Rosbottom having absconded. The Crown attorney asked the judge to proceed.

Abrams, speaking haltingly to measure his words while visibly irritated, said he took Rosbottom’s absence as a refusal to attend and thus a breach of a court order. However, he said his practice is not to sentence someone remotely.

“I’m not going to deal with Mr. Rosbottom in his absence,” said the judge. “I want him here in front of me.”

Choosing his words with care, Abrams suggested his “partners” in the administration of justice might want to deal with this apparent breach of a court order.

Noting that he had come in on a vacation day to deal with the sentencings, Abrams told Calvinho he was not ready to pick a new date.

“I appreciate that you are as surprised as anyone,” he added.

Police in the courtroom said it was too early to say whether further charges might be pending against Rosbottom.

Source: Ottawa Citizen