December 23, 2014 - 2:56 PM
PENTICTON - A Princeton man pled guilty to drug possession, driving and weapons charges after a trip to the coast took a wrong turn last month.
Rene Michael Charles Cherot pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance, knowingly possessing firearms without a licence and operating a motor vehicle while disqualified in Penticton court on Dec. 23. Numerous other charges related to the incident were dropped with Cherot's guilty plea.
The charges were laid as Cherot and a companion were making their way back to Princeton from a trip to visit relatives on the coast on Nov. 2, 2014. Crown lawyer Nashina Devji told court Cherot spotted a police roadside check on Highway 3 and pulled into a rest area nearby. Police witnessed him getting out of the car and exchanging positions with his companion, and attended the rest area.
Cherot denied to police he had been driving. He could not produce a drivers licence, and further investigation revealed a canister of bear spray in a door pocket.
He was arrested for possession of a dangerous weapon and further police checks revealed breach of a conditional sentence order that restricted Cherot from being outside his residence at the time of the infraction.
Police also found a duffel bag containing one pound of marijuana, tablets suspected to be ecstasy, and a shotgun. Cherot was also restricted from possessing weapons at the time. A condition that he abstain from alcohol was also breached after he blew a warn during a breathalyzer test.
Devji called Cherot’s infractions “substantive offences” noting his history of bad driving, the “significant” amount of drugs found and the weapons. She asked for six months on the driving charge, 30 days for the firearms infractions and seven days for the possession charges, in addition to a three to five year driving prohibition, a firearm prohibition and forfeiture of the gun.
“Not much went right for him that day,” said Judge Gale Sinclair.
Defence lawyer James Pennington said Cherot “rolled the dice” in making a decision to drive to the coast without getting permission from his supervisor, saying the pair left on the trip too late to get the supervisor’s permission. He said Cherot’s companion drove most of the way, only relinquishing the wheel to Cherot after taking ill near the Whipsaw Creek bridge.
“He should have parked at the side of the road,” Pennington said.
Pennington said Cherot had been serving his conditional sentence order without breaches prior to the weekend in question. He also explained the bear spray was in the vehicle because of bear issues at Cherot’s Princeton residence.
Judge Sinclair sentenced Cherot to five months, including a three year driving prohibition, for operating a motor vehicle while disqualified. He also gave Cherot seven days for possession of a controlled substance and 30 days along with a firearm prohibition for knowingly possessing a firearm without a licence, in addition to forfeiture of the weapon. The sentences will run consecutively to Cherot’s conditional sentence order.
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