Long-term offender sentence for Saskatoon man with history of armed robberies

by Bre McAdam

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

A Saskatoon man with more than 70 prior convictions for kidnapping, dangerous driving, weapons and robberies has been designated a long-term offender after Saskatchewan’s top court overturned his indeterminate dangerous offender sentence in 2022.

After a new hearing in Saskatoon Court of King’s Bench, Justice Richard Elson sentenced Michael Brent Laprise to eight years in prison last week for two armed robberies, just days apart in 2017.

Laprise, 36, was originally designated a dangerous offender and received an indeterminate prison sentence on the robberies after a hearing in 2020. He successfully appealed his sentence, arguing the sentencing judge didn’t consider how his experience as an Indigenous person shaped his criminal behaviour, and failed to consider his testimony about the positive changes he planned to make.

Elson found that a long-term offender designation appropriately balances the severity of the offences — robberies targeting employees who are particularly vulnerable — with the intergenerational trauma Laprise experienced.

Dangerous offender designations allow courts to impose indefinite sentences, while long-term offenders receive fixed sentences followed by a long period of community supervision. After he is released from custody, Laprise will be supervised for 10 years and is banned from possessing any weapons for the rest of his life.

Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle sought a four-year sentence while Crown prosecutor John Knox argued for 10 years.

Laprise was convicted of robbery, using an imitation handgun in a robbery, and assault causing bodily harm for hitting an employee on the head with an imitation handgun during a bank robbery in Saskatoon on Jan. 18, 2017.

Four days later, Laprise helped another man rob a Saskatoon restaurant by pulling out a can of bear spray and threatening to spray anyone who intervened. He also stole liquor and vandalized what he thought was security equipment. He pleaded guilty to robbery and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

On Jan. 27, 2017 — after the robberies that were subject to the dangerous offender hearing — Laprise was arrested for speeding through downtown Saskatoon in a stolen SUV with a stolen .22 calibre rifle inside. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison after being convicted in 2018 of dangerous driving, evading police, possessing a machete for a dangerous purpose and five firearm offences.

Court heard Laprise was serving a federal sentence when he went unlawfully at large while on day parole in October 2016.

On Nov. 28, 2016, he bear sprayed a bartender who asked him for identification, and later pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon. The offence was part of the first dangerous offender hearing, but was not subject to the dangerous offender sentence. Instead, he received an 18-month concurrent sentence.

Laprise’s prior criminal record includes six robbery convictions. According to written decisions, Laprise, who was 22 at the time, robbed two different Subway sandwich stores in Saskatoon on March 16, 2007, using a knife to steal a total of $880.

A month later, he kidnapped two Subway employees at knifepoint and forced them to take out $600 from an ATM before tying them up in his basement, assaulting them and threatening to kill them.

One man escaped from the basement while the other man escaped from the trunk of Laprise’s car, according to court decisions. In 2008, Laprise received a nine-year sentence for the kidnapping and several other offences from between November 2006 and April of 2007.