Armed Quickstop robber sentenced to two years in prison

Michael Cooper-Flaherty robbed Iqaluit’s KFC Quickstop while brandishing a knife

Michael Cooper-Flaherty, 24, will get exactly two years in a federal penitentiary followed by two years on probation for robbing the KFC Quickstop convenience store in Iqaluit while wearing a mask, judge Paul Bychok ruled Dec. 17. (File photo)

By Jim Bell

A 24-year-old man will serve two years in prison for the armed robbery of Iqaluit’s KFC Quickstop earlier this year, according to a sentencing imposed by a judge Dec. 17.

Brandishing a knife and covering his face with a blue bandana, Michael Cooper-Flaherty walked into the convenience store on Feb. 20 and forced two workers to give him about $2,000 in cash.

Following his October trial in the Nunavut Court of Justice, Justice Paul Bychok convicted the young man on two counts: armed robbery and wearing a face covering while committing an indictable offence.

At the sentencing hearing, held Nov. 13 and Dec. 14, Cooper-Flaherty’s lawyer, Mia Manocchio, asked Bychok to impose a territorial jail sentence of two years, followed by a two-year probation period.

In court, Manocchio said she didn’t want to upset the young man by talking about his traumatic childhood in front of him.

Instead, she asked Bychok to read passages from an earlier court transcript that described Cooper-Flaherty’s hellish background, which the judge quoted.

The young man’s mother was a “severe alcoholic,” the document said, and as a child he watched her being beaten by a variety of partners.

“His mother was rarely home so he and his brother often were on their own. There were drunk people fighting all the time at his home,” the transcript stated.

Cooper-Flaherty grew up bouncing between foster homes and each of his divorced parents until the age of 10, then lived with his father until age 15, when he ran away.

He started smoking marijuana at age 13, and at age 15, started drinking alcohol and using cocaine, ecstasy, and speed, Bychok said.

And he continues to struggle with mental health problems, the judge added.

A lengthy report prepared by Dr. Janine Cutler, a forensic psychologist, said Cooper-Flaherty suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, persistent depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse disorder.

This isn’t the first time Bychok has seen Cooper-Flaherty in his courtroom.

In 2017, Bychok sentenced the young man, who was 20 at the time, to five years in jail for coercing a group of teenagers into committing five separate robberies, two of which involved a .22-calibre rifle. At the time, he noted that Cooper-Flaherty is well-spoken and highly intelligent.

Of that five-year sentence, he spent a about a year and a half in jail because the judge credited him with more than three years for time he spent in custody awaiting his sentencing on those charges.

In sentencing Cooper-Flaherty for the Quickstop robbery, Bychok noted, he is still a young person with most of his life ahead of him, and that he’ll eventually have to return to the community.

Any sentence should attempt to provide the young man with the tools he needs to help him rehabilitate, he said, so he included a period of probation after his release from jail.

Although Crown lawyer Emma Baasch had asked for between three and five years, Bychok crafted a sentence that’s closer to what the defence lawyer wanted.

For the armed robbery, Bychok imposed a sentence of just over three years.

But after applying credit for time served awaiting trial, Cooper-Flaherty was left with exactly two years to serve.

That’s one day more than what’s needed to justify custody in a federal penitentiary. The maximum territorial jail sentence is two years less a day.

It also allows for a two-year period of probation following Cooper-Flaherty’s release.

For the probation period, Bychok ordered that Cooper-Flaherty stay away from the Quickstop or any other convenience store, and that he take any mental health and substance abuse counselling that may be directed by his probation officer, along with seven other conditions.

Bychok’s written judgment is dated Dec. 17, but was released Dec. 23.

R v Cooper-Flaherty, 2020 N… by NunatsiaqNews

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by .. on

    They always talk about how horrible the prisons are in Nunavut when its time to calculate accelerated remand time. However on the flip side they alway say how horrible the federal system is for sentence calculation.. this gives them the shortest possible sentence where they stay in Nunavut and get access to zero programming and learn nothing.. bravo courts.

    • Posted by Paul Murphy on

      Zero programmings??? And you know that how? And if you could provide official sources for your, I suspect, misleading information. And then blame the courts for another department’s, from your expertise, alleged failings?? Another piece of misinformation. hmm, of course, it’s easy to say and accuse while being anonymous.

      • Posted by Inside Edition on

        Paul, you often argue that not using one’s real name somehow diminishes the integrity of a comment. In reality this is not the case, it’s also not the case that using a real name confers more quality on any given comment, as evidenced here.

        It’s possible that the observation above was made by someone who works in corrections, though we will never know. If it was then anonymity is necessary for obvious reasons.

        Either way, I know many people that work in corrections and I hear this observation often. Still, the issues here run deep and we need to consider the baggage these men carry. The kind of work needed for true rehabilitation is likely to be intensive and will require a lot of effort. Many are not willing to do that, many don’t recognize they have an issue at all; for them it’s someone else’s fault, always. This is not a call to despair, but we need to be realistic with our expectations and goals.

        • Posted by Paul Murphy on

          Inside Edition although I do no not always place much weight on people’s anonymous opinions, I agree with your comment completely. People and employees should not have to fear retribution for making legitimate criticisms of their workplace.
          Most often though, I do believe that many of these anonymous criticisms are pure BS and are made to sound legitimate without pointing to legitimate sources.

  2. Posted by So sad a state on

    The NU court system is a joke but what is more tragic is the social services system that is in place to protect children. I am sorry to say that I see more attention on the Iqaluit abandoned dogs on the street thean I do about the children. Many kids live horribly tragic lives that often end too early. The Rights of the Child advocates raised a number of serious concerns this year and the Minister Responsible Jeannie Ehaloak responded that covid prevented her department from addressing the issues. This is simply not good enough.

    • Posted by Shameful. on

      Kids have been attacked, molested, abused, neglected and have lost their lives with nothing done for years and she has the nerve to publicly blame the ransomware attack for not addressing the issues. What the heck! Was she and her department out fixing software issues since she was elected. Poor excuse. Poor judgment.

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