A Gladue report will be prepared for James Lee Busch, 42, who faces two charges of escape from lawful custody for breaking out of William Head Institution with fellow inmate Zachary Armitage in July 2019. (Corrections Service Canada)

Sentencing delayed for escaped Metchosin prisoner

James Lee Busch, 42, will be back in court after creation of Indigenous offenders report

Sentencing for a Metchosin inmate charged with two counts of escape from lawful custody has been delayed for at least eight weeks.

James Lee Busch, 42, made a brief appearance by video from Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford, where he told judge Roger Cutler that he was pleading guilty to the charges.

Cutler asked Busch if he was ‘pleading voluntarily’ and without pressure, to which Busch, said he believed [Corrections Services Canada] wanted to make an example out of him.

RELATED: Judge ‘bewildered’ that escaped Metchosin inmate was in a minimum security prison

Busch’s lawyer, Roberto Alberto, clarified that his client understood the guilty plea. Busch was expressing a concern that his sentence might be harsher in order to send a message to other inmates.

“You understand that whatever the penalty is going to be is entirely up to me, regardless of what anyone else might have told you?” Cutler asked.

“Yeah,” Busch responded.

Busch was serving time for second-degree murder and assault when he escaped William Head Institution with fellow inmate Zachary Armitage on the evening of July 7. The two were present for the prison’s 7 p.m. head count, and were discovered missing at 11 p.m.

The pair evaded authorities for two days before being re-captured in Esquimalt. The escaped inmates commented on the size of a dog near the Songhees Walkway on the evening of July 9, unknowingly alerting its owner – an off-duty RCMP officer – to their location. The officer called 911 and the two men were arrested by the Victoria Police Department.

RELATED: Escaped William Head inmates recognized after commenting on off-duty RCMP officer’s dog

On Monday, Alberto requested a Gladue report be prepared for his client – a process that will delay sentencing by at least eight weeks. A Gladue report is a pre-sentencing or bail hearing report for Indigenous offenders with recommendations to the court on appropriate sentencing. The report usually includes information on the individual’s family and background and is typically created by Gladue caseworkers at the request of a judge or lawyer.

“They are specifically done for people of Aboriginal descent, because the Supreme Court of Canada has said there needs to be consideration of many factors that Aboriginal people go through that the rest of society doesn’t go through,” Alberto said. “Over and over, criminal defence lawyers we are finding that the Gladue report is actually very important. The more information you can give the judge the better informed he or she is.”

RELATED: Langford mayor left with questions nearly two months after Metchosin prison escape

Alberto said its unclear if a Gladue report has ever been created for Busch, who has been convicted and sentenced for multiple crimes, including aggravated sexual assault.

“It will probably be best to get a [report] because he has probably gone through a lot of other stuff while in jail,” Alberto said. “So I want to get that information and put it to the judge and go from there.”

Busch’s next court date Feb. 13 will determine if the Gladue report is completed and potentially include the setting of a new sentencing date.

Armitage also pleaded guilty to escape from lawful custody and in November was sentenced to an another year in prison, in addition to his current sentence.

RELATED: Escaped Metchosin inmate sentenced to additional year tacked on to 14-year sentence



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Donated sculpture in Sidney’s Beacon Park a testament to perseverance

Victoria artist Armando Barbon picked up sculpting 22 years ago

Greater Victoria businesses come together to help Island kids

Langford Lowe’s raises funds for youth mental health all month

Sidney builds community resilience through neighbourhood gatherings

Meet Your Street needs residents to create gatherings, safe interactions

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Saanich for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read