A man accused of manslaughter in the shooting death of his son "broke all the rules" in the lead up to the incident that has put him before the court, a Crown prosecutor argued during closing submissions Monday for Roger Wayne Evans.
Evans, 63, also faces a count of careless use or storage of a firearm in the death of his son, Dale, 41, sometime over the night of June 31-Aug. 1, 2018.
Crown prosecutor Tyler Bowman submitted that Roger Evans was drunk when he picked up a rifle from the kitchen table with the intent to carry it out of their Quesnel-area home and lock it away in a trailer outside. In doing so, Bowman said Rogers Evans failed to point the gun in a safe direction, ensure the safety was on, check to see if there was a bullet in the chamber and to disengage the magazine which was holding four bullets.
"This is an example of why one should never handle a firearm while intoxicated. We have rules...about the storage and handling of firearms. Mr. Evans essentially broke all the rules which were designed and put in place to prevent this kind of thing from happening," Bowman said.
A .30-calibre bullet from the Savage 99C 308 Winchester struck Dale Evans in the back.
When a friend dropped by on the morning of Aug. 1, he found Dale Evans lying near the home's entrance in a pool of blood and without a pulse. When he yelled for Roger Evans, there was no response. Because there was no cell service in the area and because he did not want to venture past the body and further into the house, he drove to a friend's property to call police.
When RCMP arrived later that morning, they had trouble reviving Evans when they found him in his bedroom. He later told police the gun went off when he picked it up. Too drunk to drive, Evans guessed he passed out while trying to figure out what to do next, he told police.
Bowman submitted that was a sign Evans was intoxicated, as were the numerous beer cans, both empty and full, found around the home. While a test for blood-alcohol was not conducted on Roger Evans, a pathologist determined Dale Evans' blood-alcohol level was .219, and from that, Bowman submitted the court could infer that Roger Evans had also been drinking.
Bowman also made reference to another case with similar circumstances in which jury recently found Kayne Sabbe Penner guilty of manslaughter in the Dec. 20, 2012 shooting death of his fiance April Johnson, 18.
Penner was handling a .22-calibre semiautomatic rifle within the confines of his cousin's trailer home in the community west of Prince George when it went off. The only major difference, Bowman submitted, was that Penner was not drunk at the time.
In response, Evan's lawyer, Jason LeBlond, noted the photos of the scene showed the gun lying on the table with a piece of sandpaper and a cord from a beard trimmer lying on top. Despite telling police he picked the gun up, LeBlond contended finding raises doubts that aspect of his client's story.
LeBlond further argued Roger Evan's intent was to get the gun out of harm's way when it went off and described the incident as a case of "extremely bad timing." The gun's safety sits on top of the stock and was obscured by the scope, Leblond also noted, and added Roger Evans could not say when he last handled the firearm.
Noting his client was never actually tested for the amount of alcohol in his blood, LeBlond submitted Evans could have passed out from "simply being overwhelmed."
A manslaughter conviction carries a minimum four years in prison.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen will issue his verdict on Tuesday morning.