Saskatoon

Jail sentence for Sask. man who capped off 7-day meth bender by lighting himself on fire

A man who led Saskatoon police on a multi-hour chase before dousing himself in gasoline and setting himself on fire has received a sentence of two years less a day.

Mounties put out flames with 'no apparent thought to their own safety,' says judge

Terrence Morin captured on infrared camera pouring gas on himself next to a stolen SUV and a small fire. (Saskatoon Police Service)

A man who led Saskatoon police on a multi-hour chase before dousing himself in gasoline and setting himself on fire has received a sentence of two years less a day.

Terrance Morin had previously entered guilty pleas for charges stemming from a series of events on May 5, 2018, that Judge Brent Klause called "quite spectacular."

It involved the tail-end of a seven-day crystal meth bender, a stolen GMC Envoy and a chase by police car and police plane. It reached its climax right after Morin pulled over in a field outside Dalmeny, 22 km outside Saskatoon, and pulled out a jerry can and igniting himself.

Footage from a Saskatoon pursuit from one year ago shows the suspect pouring gasoline and lighting himself on fire. Court heard how the man had been high on meth for seven days prior to the pursuit. 2:12

Judge Klause commended police actions in both carefully measuring the appropriate way to follow Morin without causing a collision, which he called a "complete miracle," and in putting out the flames with "no apparent thought to their own safety."

Crown prosecutor Barbara Herder later echoed those comments when speaking to CBC.

"There is a fireball, there is an explosion at the end of this. And what do the RCMP officers do? They immediately, they've already got their fire extinguishers out, they run right into it in order to save this person's life, the person who has just led them on a chase, that's crashed into one of their cruisers," Herder said.

When Morin entered the prisoner's box in Saskatoon court on Tuesday, his appearance gave no sign of the mayhem he had caused a year earlier. He had previously told court he didn't have any recollection of the night in question.

'Good luck Mr. Morin'

Morin was wearing a prison-issue grey sweater. He appeared lucid and gave his defence lawyer two thumbs up after receiving his sentence.

"Good luck Mr. Morin. I hope this is a chance to restructure your life because you're headed in the wrong direction in terms of crystal meth use. Get clean, get your education, get out and start over, get your daughter back," Judge Klause said before Morin was escorted out of the prisoner's box.

Court heard Morin had gotten clean after going through detox and upgraded his Grade 10 education to get his GED while behind bars.

'The accused is remorseful'

Morin was serving for other crimes that will extend his overall prison time to just below five years. Herder said this appeased her, even though her request for a five to six-year sentence was not heeded.

Judge Klause said one of the few mitigating factors was that he had entered guilty pleas, thus avoiding the need for a trial.

"The accused is remorseful and committing himself to a drug-free future," he said.

Judge Klause said deterrence is paramount in this case, and that he is inclined to keep Morin within the provincial system in an effort to turn Morin into a law-abiding citizen.

A sentence any longer than two years less a day would have landed Morin in a federal penitentiary.

Morin was also ordered to do 100 hours of community service.

With files from CBC's Dan Zakreski