September 08, 2016 - 4:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops man, who was under police surveillance before his home was searched by police, has been found guilty of possessing ammunition and a taser.
Steven Bernd Bartkowski faced several gun and drug related offences, but most of them were acquitted in Kamloops Supreme Court today, Sept. 8.
Judge Keith Bracken said it was a circumstancial case in which Crown prosecutor Adrienne Murphy couldn't prove without a reasonable doubt that Bartkowski was guilty on all counts.
In March 2014, police entered Bartkowski's North Shore basement suite with a search warrant.
They found drugs, paraphernalia and a duffle bag tucked away in a small room. The duffle bag contained a sawed-off shotgun, a rifle wrapped in a toque and sealed with coloured duct tape, a red pillow and gun cartridges.
Court heard officers found an uncharged taser in the shape of brass knuckles.
At the time of the search, Bartkowski was under a lifetime weapons prohibition for a previous offence.
The bag was located in a small furnace room in the suite, underneath a garbage bag and a bag of folded clothes. Bracken says it was unlikely someone who wasn't living in the suite could have placed the bag there.
The suite Bartkowski lived in with his then-girlfriend Deborah Swaine was described in court as a "typical drug house," with guests over frequently and drugs strewn about.
"They each said that other people came and went from the suite," Bracken said.
Bracken also said it didn't seem likely Bartkowski nor Swaine wouldn't remember a guest bringing over the distinct duffle bag or the contents placed over it, but there were no fingerprints or DNA evidence tying the bag to Bartkowski.
"I'm left with a reasonable doubt," Bracken said. "Therefore I must find the accused not guilty."
Bracken did find Bartkowski guilty of possessing a prohibited device and ammunition.
Officers also found shotgun shells in a nightstand in the bedroom and Bracken says it's highly unlikely Bartkowski wasn't aware of them being there.
A date for Bartkowski's sentencing is expected to be set later this month.
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