A veteran judge did not want to send a first-time criminal to jail Thursday, but had no choice as the criminal code calls for a minimum one-year sentence for any adult convicted of possessing or transporting stolen guns.
Timothy Clark, 20, was near tears when Justice William Fitzgerald imposed the mandatory 12-month sentence for Clark?s role in helping two friends break into four residences in the Espanola area. During the last break and enter of a residence in McKerrow last Jan. 13, a total of 20 handguns were stolen. Only nine have been recovered.
The total amount of merchandise stolen during the four break and enters was in excess of $56,000.
Court heard Clark had no previous criminal record before getting involved with Kenneth Teahan and Wayne Pilotte.
Pilotte had heard, while in jail, about a homeowner who had an impressive gun collection and devised a plan to break into the home and steal the large cache of handguns.
Two months ago, Pilotte, 26, was given a 32-month penitentiary term for being the ?ringleader? in all four break and enters.
Teahan earlier received a 22-month sentence for his involvement in the crimes.
Court heard Clark would drive the vehicle to the homes where Pilotte and Teahan would break in and didn?t participate in stealing merchandise or the guns, but knew exactly what was going on.
A pre-sentence report indicates Clark comes from a good family and has made efforts to improve himself since being arrested in this matter, said Zylberberg.
However, anyone who gets involved in any crime involving the transport, sale or possession of handguns must know there?s a serious price to pay, he said.
Members of Parliament have deemed such crimes so dangerous that there is now a one-year mandatory sentence for any adult convicted of transporting or selling stolen handguns and four-year mandatory penitentiary term for anyone convicted of using or possessing a handgun in the commission of a crime, he said.
Besides imposing the minimum one-year jail sentence, Justice William Fitzgerald imposed a further one-year period of probation, and prohibited Clark from owning or possessing any prohibited weapons for 10 years. Clark was also ordered to provide a DNA sample for a national crime data bank.
- by Keith Lacey