A B.C. Supreme Court Justice found Ryan John Moore not guilty Monday of a long list of charges related to the seizure of a large cache of stolen firearms from his Prince George townhouse two years ago.
In reaching the verdict, Justice Ron Tindale found it "incomprehensible" that RCMP did not take photos of the attic prior to removing the weapons and ammunition following Moore's Nov. 30, 2011 arrest and subsequent search of the home.
A crack pipe and metal tray with Moore's fingerprints were also found in the attic.
"Because of that oversight, I do not have the exact position of the firearms, ammunition, crack pipe or tray as they were found in the attic," Tindale said. "Also any individual clue as to whether the crack pipe or tray were placed there at the same time as the firearms and the ammunition has been lost."
Although he has admitted to selling drugs from the home, located in the 100 block of Victoria Street, Moore, 23, has claimed no knowledge of the firearms and his lawyer, Daniel Geller, suggested the pipe and tray may have been planted there to set him up.
Moore maintained the same position on a gun cleaning kit as well as several identification and credit cards from other people found in one of the bedrooms and Tindale noted it was "not an average Canadian home" with numerous known criminals and drug addicts frequenting the location daily.
Some 2,000 rounds of ammunition, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, five rifles, a restricted nine-millimetre handgun with ammunition, a restricted semi-automatic rifle and two prohibited magazines were found in the attic.
Tindale also touched on photographs Moore's girlfriend took of the attic sometime during the two weeks following the arrest at Geller's request.
They showed a hole in one of the attic's walls separating the townhouse from a neighbouring unit and Geller had suggested the firearms were smuggled into the attic without Moore's knowledge via the neighbouring unit after entry was gained through the back door.
A subsequent photo taken by the RCMP nearly a year later at Crown counsel's request showed no hole and the townhouse's manager testified there was supposed to be a firewall between the units, although she also admitted she had never been in the attic to take a look.
Tindale also noted Moore was in police custody from Nov. 29 to Nov. 30. He was released in the morning while police, acting on a tip from an informant, secured a search warrant that night and attended the home at 11:30 p.m. Moore was arrested when he answered the door.
Moore and his girlfriend had lived in the newly-constructed townhouse for one month when police executed the search warrant.
The townhouses' manager said she only dealt with Moore's girlfriend and never knew he lived there. The home is one of four townhouses built where Northern Linen once stood prior to a November 2011 fire.
In all, Moore was acquitted of 15 firearms0related counts but was found guilty of trafficking in heroin and cocaine after admitting to selling drugs to support his own heroin addiction. Police found 110.48 grams of heroin and 1.24 grams of cocaine in the home.
Moore was sentenced to time served on those counts and to a further two years probation. He had been in custody for 22 months on the charges less 30 days for breaching a recognizance after he was found overdosed on heroin.
Moore is the son of William "Billy" Moore, the 35-year-old Renegades motorcycle club president who was murdered in March 2005 and like his father, appeared to have enemies. While behind bars he was assaulted three times and spent much of the 22 months in solitary confinement.
"I think to a significant extent, that's had a very salutary effect upon him," Geller said. "He has not liked his time in custody."
Probation conditions include taking counselling as ordered by the probation officer and a prohibition on cellphones and smartphones - regarded as a tool for drug dealers - for one year.
Had Moore been found guilty of the firearms offences, he would have faced as much as a further three years in prision.
Moore's mother, girlfriend and three friends were in the courtroom for the verdict. Moore, who had been handcuffed and shackled for his court appearances, gave a quick smile to the onlookers prior to being led from the courtroom. He was to be released later the same day Monday.