Sentencing hearing begins for GardaWorld attacker

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The sentencing hearing for a man who blew up homemade bombs at two Edmonton banks in 2018 began Monday.

In May, Justin Byron admitted to making an explosive substance and trying to rob a pair of GardaWorld armed guards in September 2018 as well as charges stemming from a separate bank robbery in December 2018. In that case, he detonated an explosive device and attacked a GardaWorld employee.

Byron testified during the sentencing hearing Monday, providing evidence in relation to his time in custody since being arrested in March 2019. The 40-year-old is seeking a reduced sentence or enhanced credit due to his experience while in custody.

Court heard Byron and his wife had their second son 16 days prior to his arrest. He testified that on multiple occasions while he was at the Edmonton Remand Centre and the Calgary Remand Centre, he was unable to speak to his wife due to being on lockdowns caused by altercations among other inmates.

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Byron said his wife struggles with her mental health and it was extremely hard on her with Byron in custody and unable to help with their two sons. He said twice while he was in remand he “talked her back from the ledge.”

“I would tell her, ‘just wait until the next phone call,’” he said.

Byron also testified on the number of amenities inmates had during his time at the Calgary Remand Centre, including a small shelf of books that went a month or more between changes as well as the food being “poor.”

He was expected to provide further evidence on his time in custody during the COVID-19 pandemic Monday afternoon.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue through the week, with the Crown expected to provide evidence on Tuesday and Wednesday.

ajunker@postmedia.com

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