Wayne Blood, 34, from Lac La Biche, Alberta pleaded guilty to the charge of occupying a vehicle knowing there was a sawed-off shotgun inside.
After Blood pleaded guilty in Salmon Arm Provincial Court on Tuesday, April 23, the court heard how he was caught with the illegal firearm.
According to facts of the case presented by Crown Counsel Alison Buchanan, Salmon Arm RCMP received a call on Feb. 12, 2018 about a driver travelling west on the Trans-Canada Highway at irregular speeds and in an erratic lane position.
A search of the licence plate number showed the vehicle, a red 2017 Toyota Corolla, had been stolen from the Edmonton area earlier that month.
Police located the vehicle parked on Ross Street in Salmon Arm and observed Blood get out of the passenger’s seat and a woman get out of the driver’s seat; they entered a laundromat on Ross Street. Both Blood and the woman he was with were arrested for possession of stolen property.
Buchanan said the loaded 12-gauge shotgun was located in a backpack in the trunk of the vehicle along with 30 live shells.
Buchanan and Blood’s lawyer Ian McTavish presented Judge Christopher Cleavely with a joint submission suggesting 28 months of jail time for Blood.
Buchanan noted Blood has a previous conviction for possession of a prohibited weapon dating back to 2012 for which he was sentenced to 22 months in jail.
“Mr. Blood and his partner were on their way out to B.C. for the alleged purpose of changing their lives. The way they did it was totally inappropriate, the possessions they had were totally inappropriate and contrary to the law. He knows that,” McTavish said.
McTavish said Blood started using drugs a long time ago and he hasn’t been able to kick the habit in the past, but his present incarceration is one of his longest periods of abstaining from them. He said Blood has been taking upgrading courses while at the Okanagan Correctional Centre and hopes to finish his last two years of high school once released.
Addressing the court by videoconference, Blood said he plans to return to Lac La Biche where family members including one of his daughters live, once he is released.
“You’re 34, Mr. Blood, it’s time to turn this around. Heaven help you if you’re caught with a third illegal weapon because you know these sentences just keep getting longer and longer. This time do your best to do something in the community that’s positive once you’re released,” Cleavely said.
Cleavely said the sentence of 28 months is appropriate given the offence and Blood’s criminal record. A credit for 22 months time served is being taken into consideration, leaving six months remaining in his sentence.
Along with the jail time, Blood will have to provide a sample for the DNA data bank and has been given a lifetime prohibition on owning firearms.