A Prince George man dodged a bullet Wednesday when he pleaded guilty to possessing a sawed-off rifle police found in an 1100-block Ahbau Street home in December.
Bruce Brian Willier, 34, was sentenced to another 10 months in jail for the offence but would have faced at least three years had the matter been treated as an indictable offence.
Willier's decision to plead guilty, combined with the circumstances surrounding the incident, meant it was treated as a less-serious summary offence and so, subject to a shorter jail term.
Willier was one of three people arrested during Dec. 7, 2013 when police executed a search warrant on the home.
He and a woman, Ashley Natasha Roxanne Joseph, 26, were found in one of the home's bedrooms where the .22-calibre rifle was found, the court was told.
Defence lawyer Mitch Houg said there had been trouble with break and enters at the home and Joseph came up with a "cockamamie scheme" to get the rifle from her uncle for added security.
Willier was going to take the full blame until he learned he would be subject to a minimum three years behind bars if he did so. To her credit, Joseph explained to police how the gun ended up in the home, Houg added.
In accepting a joint submission from defence and Crown counsels, Provincial Court Judge Gregory Brown told Willier that while someone else may have acquired the gun, he had knowledge and control of the weapon.
"Even if you were going to have some kind of difficulties in your neighbourhood, possessing that kind of a weapon, no good was going to come of that and you would have found yourself in much more serious circumstances," Brown added.
Two weeks after his arrest at the home, Willier was sentenced to seven days in jail for possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to a year in jail less 70 days time already served in custody, meaning his sentence will continue for another 295 days. He was also issued a 10-year firearms prohibition.
Joseph and Mathew Thomas Alston, 30, continue to face charges as police seized quantities of methamphetamine, crack cocaine and heroin, along with an assortment of drug trafficking paraphernalia. Allegations against the two have not yet been proven in court.
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