Prolific Okanagan criminal facing Dangerous Offender status

Michael Ellis was in front of a judge Monday for a hearing aimed at determining whether or not he should be labelled a Dangerous Offender

A Dangerous Offender Hearing is being held for Michael Ellis this month

A prolific Okanagan criminal who made headlines four years ago by leading Mounties on a high-speed, gunshot-punctuated car chase through the valley is back in court this month.

Michael Ellis, 43, was in front of a judge Monday for the first day of an estimated three week long hearing aimed at determining whether or not he should be labelled a Dangerous Offender when he’s sentenced on a number of convictions related to a 2012 crime spree.

At a trial that concluded more than a year ago, the court heard that Ellis, in a drug-fuelled haze,  was the wheelman of an operation that included multiple car jackings, shots fired at police and civilians alike and an attempt to run a Vernon cop off the road.

For his role, Ellis was found guilty of three counts of robbery, two counts of attempted robbery, four counts of firing a prohibited firearm, dangerous driving and six weapons offences. He dodged an attempted murder conviction for his efforts to run the police officer off the road.

“Extreme recklessness endangering the life of Cpl. (Richard) Gingras does not equate to an intent to kill,” said Supreme Court Justice Ian Josephson, during sentencing.

“His intent was to escape police at all costs, even if those efforts resulted in the death of Cpl. Gingras.”

Despite being found not guilty of the most violent charge, Crown counsel Murray Kaay still applied for a Dangerous Offender hearing and that has taken over a year to come to fruition.

Dangerous Offender Hearings are few and far between at the Kelowna courthouse, likely because the designation is reserved for Canada’s most violent criminal and sexual offenders.

In 2014/2015, there were a total of 645 Dangerous Offenders in Canada.  Of that number, 19 were Dangerous Sexual Offenders and four were habitual criminal offenders.

“A Dangerous Offender  is an individual given an indeterminate or a determinate sentence on the basis of a particularly violent crime or pattern of serious violent offences, where it is judged that the offender’s behaviour is unlikely to be inhibited by normal standards of behavioural restraint,” read a comment from a Correction’s Canada employee.

Ellis is a longtime criminal, whose criminal resume is robust, and behaviour is deeply ingrained, the court heard Monday.

The court heard Monday his first brush with the federal prison system was in 1997, when he was convicted for being the getaway driver on four bank robberies.

A Corrections Canada worker was called to the stand to speak to the entry assessment he completed on Ellis all those years ago.

In it, he said that Ellis was a drug addict, with heroin and opiates being his drug of choice.

His aspiration at the time, according to the survey, was to get married and become a family man. His work history was lacking and he seemed to surround himself in those who were deeply entrenched in the drug trade.

The hearing will continue for three more weeks, with multiple witnesses called upon.

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: Fear or love

We say, “Once again, one worth seeing, one not.”

Two people safe after falling through ice

Kelowna Fire Department urges caution around icy waters during warm weather

Missing Kelowna woman sought

RCMP are asking for assistance in locating Christine Olsen-Meissnitzer

Plane lands safely after takeoff issue

An airplane departing Kelowna International Airport had an issue with a landing gear, landed safely

KSS rocks and rolls for 37th straight year

Kelowna secondary students let loose with annual Air Bank competition

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Captain Cal Foote is Rockets’ MVP

The Rockets hand out their annual team awards Sunday at Kelowna Community Theatre

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

Cancer fundraiser takes to Okanagan Lake

Penticton and Naramata joining growing fundraising event

Elke’s Garden Tips: Good time to prepare

Lake Country garden columnist talks about what to do at this time of the year

Letter: Crying fowl over goose cull witness

Kelowna letter-writer says Canada geese come with many issues

Letter: I was born in Kelowna in 1930…

Kelowna letter-writer has some ideas on how things should run nowadays

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read