Chilliwack man, 25, declared a dangerous offender

A 25-year-old Chilliwack man was declared a dangerous offender under new legislation by a Supreme Court Justice after a May 24 court hearing in New Westminster.

A 25-year-old Chilliwack man was declared a dangerous offender under new legislation by a Supreme Court Justice after a May 24 court hearing in New Westminster.

It’s the first time the amended legislation to protect the public has been used in B.C., said John Lester, the Chilliwack Crown counsel who handled the case.

What made the case “a bit unique,” Lester said, was the relatively short record of the offender.

But the main factor in the dangerous offender designation was the failure of defence counsel to prove the offender could “self-manage” his behavior, if released into the community, thus putting the public safety at risk.

Ryan Joseph Walsh had been released from prison in November, 2008 after serving time for an aggravated assault in Chilliwack on Halloween night, 2005, in which he had hit a man twice on the head with a hammer.

But within three weeks of his release, Walsh was involved in a “drug sale gone bad” that started in the parking lot of a downtown hotel, and eventually led to a house where he stabbed a man.

“Walsh confronted these guys, ultimately stabbing one guy in the back,” Lester said.

A psychological report, presented in evidence at the dangerous offender hearing, described Walsh as a “high risk” to reoffend.

Walsh will now remain in prison for an “indeterminate” time until he can show he’s learned how to “self-manage” in the community.

“It will be a number of years before he’s considered for release,” Lester said.

But even then, he added, Walsh “will be monitored for the rest of his life.”

Unlike other offenders who eventually return to the community on parole, for dangerous offenders, “this doesn’t end,” Lester said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com