An Iqaluit man with a history of robberies has been convicted of the crime once again, and this time it was one of his facial tattoos that was largely his undoing.
Michael Cooper-Flaherty was found guilty on Oct. 9 of holding up the KFC Quick Stop in Iqaluit, while brandishing a knife, and making off with $1,680 on Feb. 22.
Judge Paul Bychok had to consider the testimony from three witnesses along with video footage from Quick Stop’s security cameras and evidence that the RCMP produced.
Cooper-Flaherty entered the business on Feb. 22 with the lower part of his face hidden behind a blue bandana. He told the manager to “give me the money before the cops come,” and “give me the money before I get angry.”
The manager saw the knife that Cooper-Flaherty possessed and turned over the cash a short while later. The robber then fled.
The RCMP arrested Cooper-Flaherty at a residence two days after the holdup. He was wearing a black Canada Goose winter coat bearing a distinctive patch with crossed Nunavut and Canada flags on the upper left breast, clearly sewn on by hand – the same as the person in the security video from the KFC Quick Stop. He also had the same distinct black shoes and black baseball-style cap.
After being charged and going to trial, Cooper-Flaherty chose not to testify or to forge a defence.
Bychok found the three witnesses – the store manager, a store clerk and a customer – were problematic in one way or another. However, the judge was convinced by the Quick Stop manager’s description of Cooper-Flaherty’s tattoo of a cross below his right eye.
“You will recall he said that the cross was made up of two, single, black lines which intersected not in the middle but higher, and that it resembled a ‘very plain’ cross of the Christian faith. I am satisfied that the manager’s clear and detailed description of the cross is reliable (evidence)…” Bychok said. “I am satisfied that the manager had ample opportunity and visual acuity to describe accurately the robber’s facial cross tattoo. Combined with the rest of the prosecution’s identity evidence, it incriminates the accused.”
Bychok set the offender’s sentencing for Nov. 13 for the convictions of robbery and wearing a face covering with intent to commit an indictable offence.
Cooper-Flaherty, who’s in his mid-20s, was involved in several Iqaluit robberies in 2014 and 2015. He was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017.