Two Prince George men have escaped jail time for their roles in a scheme concocted by a well-known local criminal to intimidate some rivals.
Vincent Junior Joseph, 34, was sentenced to a four month conditional sentence, effectively house arrest, followed by one year probation and John Paul Horth, 27, was sentenced to one year probation with a suspended sentence in Prince George provincial court on Wednesday.
The outcomes stem from a Sept. 24, 2011 incident in which Joseph was seen walking out to a sport utility vehicle with what appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun hidden underneath his coat and police were called.
Mounties tracked the vehicle down to a home in the 1100 block of 20th Ave. where they found Horth in the driver's seat and Joseph in the back, along with a baseball bat and a loaded sawed-off shotgun.
Police also found Dustin Lee Pierini, 33, a man known to police and the courts, brandishing a pair of brass knuckles.
The three had gone to the home to get back at some unidentified people for saying Horth was "washed up." Horth was aware of the baseball bat but did not know the gun had also been brought along, the court was told.
Because it was Horth's first criminal conviction - although he also is up for sentencing today on a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking - Crown prosecutor Geoffrey McDonald had recommended a conditional sentence for him.
Joseph was also a first-time offender but because he brought along the shotgun, McDonald had argued for jail time.
"You cannot have people taking loaded sawed off shotguns to people's homes for the purpose of intimidation," McDonald said.
However, McDonald also suggested the jail term be less than the term Pierini was issued last January of one year less eight months credit for time already served in custody. The credit was issued on a two-for-one basis.
Pierini was described as the "central architect who insisted this should all happen," while Joseph and Horth were followers.
Joseph's lawyer, David Jenkins, called for a conditional sentence and said his client has since changed his ways. At the time of the incident, he had been going through a period of binge drinking but has not touched a drop since and is no longer associating with those "so-called friends," Jenkins said.
Horth's lawyer, Jason LeBlond, said his client was "very much opposed to the involvement of the gun" when the plan was being concocted and was unaware it had been taken along.
Joseph and Horth were also sentenced to one year probation and firearms prohibitions of 10 and five years respectively.
In issuing the sentences, judge Dan Weatherly labeled the pair's actions "extremely, extremely stupid."