Judge lays into ‘absolutely dishonest’ repeat offender

Ilonna Josie in a picture posted to Facebook.

A woman caught by a police dog will spend 68 days in jail after pleading guilty to joyriding.

Ilonna Josie was already serving a sentence in the community for charges relating to an auto theft from last year. In February, she was found in a stolen vehicle in Saskatoon. Then, police arrested her for driving another stolen vehicle in Prince Albert last weekend. On Wednesday, a judge terminated her conditional sentence order, and sent her back to jail.

“I have a responsibility to protect society, and you keep being found in stolen vehicles,” Judge Lavoie said. “You are going to have to come to grips with that.”

Josie was facing a heap of charges for numerous driving offences, for breaching her conditions and for repeatedly giving police a false name. She failed to attend a program the court imposed for a 2015 impaired driving charge. According to Crown Prosecutor Gail Douglas, she was seen driving “very fast” on the wrong side of the road. When officers pulled her over, they noticed that she had “red, glossy eyes” and a bottle of vodka by the driver’s seat. She blew close to twice the legal limit.

But her most recent charges stem from an incident last Sunday. That evening, police responded to a complaint that a stolen vehicle was seen going through the Bank of Montreal drive-thru at Cornerstone. They tailed the vehicle until it ran a red light and sped away at high speed. Eventually, they found it abandoned on 1 Street East. The driver had fled, and police cordoned off the area.

Douglas described how Police Service Dog Febee brought her to justice.

“The dog is deployed in the alley. She, the dog, tracks to the yard,” Douglas said. “She goes straight to the bushes against the house, where they find Ms. Josie.

“The dog then managed to engage Ms. Josie’s sweater.”

The Crown and the defence submitted a joint proposal for 75 days time served on the list of charges, plus the termination of Josie’s conditional sentence order, which had 68 days remaining. Judge Lavoie said it was “the absolute bottom end” of what he was prepared to accept.

In place of a harsh sentence, he delivered a lecture.

“You are just running from reality and you are just living day to day,” he told Josie. “That’s fine, but there comes a time when society cannot allow that.

“You are absolutely dishonest, and that’s what this is all about.”

Lavoie also imposed a two-year driving ban. He ended with a warning.

“You got a chance to try a new start,” he said. “Good luck to you ma’am, but remember, it’s your decision. If you get into further trouble, you will be spending it at Pine Grove.”