The law in Canada relating to firearms is considerably complex. The Criminal Code and its supporting regulations define a firearm for the purposes of the Firearms Act, and set out penalties for the illegal possession and improper use of a firearm.
Depending on the precise firearm offence alleged, many violations bring with them mandatory minimum prison sentences upon conviction.
For example, section 95(1) of the Criminal Code creates the offence of possession of a loaded restricted or prohibited firearm, or an unloaded or restricted or prohibited firearm with readily accessible ammunition, without being the holder of a license and a registration certificate for the firearm. The penalties for this are set out in s. 95(2).
Where the Crown elects to proceed by summary conviction, an offender is subject to no minimum penalty and a maximum sentence of one year imprisonment. However, where the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, mandatory minimum sentences are engaged. In the case of a first offender, a person is subject to a mandatory minimum of three years imprisonment. For a second and subsequent offence, the minimum sentence is five years imprisonment.
Caselaw has developed over the ‘two year gap’ created by the differential in sentences between an indictable proceeding (3 year minimum) and a summary conviction proceeding (1 yearmaximum) for the same offence.
The current state of affairs has left the constitutionality of s. 95(2) being determined on a case-by-case basis.
The consequences of a firearms offence conviction in Canada can be severe. Criminal lawyer Wade Jenson is experienced in defending firearms charges and has an established record of success.
1) R. v. B.
The accused, a member of a prominent Kelowna family, was charged after police discovered him at night with a loaded handgun in his vehicle. Police alleged connections to organized crime. Criminal defence lawyer Wade Jenson was hired to defend. At trial, Wade Jenson demonstrated that the Crown counsel had failed to establish his client’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. NOT GUILTY.
2) R. v. M.
The accused, who was employed as an armored guard, confronted a man late one night who was in a vehicle with his ex-girlfriend. He was alleged to have retrieved his 9mm Luger handgun and pointed it at the head of the man before confining and assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He was charged with pointing a firearm, possessing a handgun for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, unlawful confinement, and assault. Facing these very serious charges, the accused retained criminal lawyer Wade Jenson, who after extensive negotiations with Crown, entered a single plea to possession of a weapon. Following lengthy submissions in court, Wade Jenson was successful in obtaining for his client a CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE. All other charges dismissed.
3) R. v. W.
Client charged with assault with a weapon, using a handgun while committing the indictable offence of assault, and possession of a handgun for the purpose of committing an offence. After securing the report of a private polygraph expert, and following extensive negotiations with both police and Crown counsel, defence lawyer Wade Jenson had ALL CHARGES DISMISSED.