The sentence imposed on Vasilios George Makris, 29, was one of the most severe sentences handed down so far to those convicted of participating in the riot. Judge William Kitchen said it was the most serious case he has seen arising out of the incident.
Makris pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a riot and one count of assault on Aug. 30. The assault arose from an attack on a Good Samaritan who was attempting to stop Makris and others from setting a car on fire.
The riot broke out on June 15, 2011, after the home town Canucks were defeated by the Boston Bruins in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup final. During the riot, several people were injured and damage to vehicles and businesses, some of which were looted, was in the millions of dollars.
Makris' punishment was not the most severe handed down to those convicted of participating in the riot. Ryan Dickinson, 20, was sentenced to 17 months in jail for the same charges as well as an additional count of breaching a condition of a recognizance. But many of the participants received suspended sentences, conditional sentences meaning they would serve their time at home, or shorter sentences to be served on weekends.
In his reasons for sentence, Judge Kitchen said this was the most serious case he has seen to date. Makris was present during the entire four hour riot and engaged in property damage, broke into a building, assaulted the Good Samaritan, knocked a woman who was trying to stop him to the ground, helped torch cars, and taunted police who were trying to stop him.
Kitchen wrote, "It is difficult to imagine how any rioter could have been more involved in the mayhem, short of committing much more serious substantive offences such as grievous bodily harm."
Makris, who is originally from Victoria, had no previous criminal record. The judge found he was remorseful, had been steadily employed since the riot, and had done a lot of volunteer work including work for a UN agency in the Middle East. Kitchen also found Makris did not have a substance abuse problem and did not pose a danger to society.
Makris' lawyer argued his client was drunk on the evening of the riot, having consumed more than 12 beers and 14 ounces of vodka. He asked for a conditional sentence or a jail sentence of up to 90 days.
Prosecutors asked for a sentence of one year in jail. The judge found the principles of denunciation and general deterrence were paramount in this case. Kitchen also noted when Makris was observed running in the videos, he did not exhibit the usual signs of impairment.
Kitchen wrote, "In fact, my assessment is that because of the aggravating aspects of this case the indicated sentence is at least that sought by the Crown; a sentence of a year or more could be entirely justified as generally indicated before consideration is given to Makris' personal circumstances."
More than 100 people have been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the 2011 Stanley Cup riots.