June 06, 2016 - 12:52 PM
KELOWNA – A hearing began in Kelowna Supreme Court today to determine if the man who was found guilty of shooting at police and civilians during a high speed chase on Westside Road in 2012 will be deemed a dangerous offender and face an indeterminate prison sentence.
In February 2015 Michael Ellis, 42, was found guilty of unlawful discharge of a prohibited weapon, armed robbery, attempted robbery, pointing a weapon at a person, possessing prohibited firearms, being in a vehicle with prohibited firearms, operating a vehicle in a manner dangerous to the public, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and failing to stop for police.
Ellis is the last of three people who fled a traffic stop in West Kelowna, used a loaded gun to carjack one motorist and attempted to carjack another, sped through construction zones and shot at police before crashing near Vernon.
Ellis’s long-time friend and former co-accused Shawn Wysynski is currently serving nine years in federal prison for the carjackings and testified last year that he ordered Ellis at gunpoint to get away from police that day. He also says he was the one who shot at police.
Ashley Collins was 18, pregnant and according to her lawyer Grant Gray “essentially along for the ride.” During the chase she was shot by police as she hid in the box of the hijacked pickup truck and lost the baby and one of her kidneys.
She received a suspended sentence with 18 months’ probation as well as a five-year ban on owning firearms.
Although Ellis was found not guilty of attempted murder last year, he could still face life in prison if a Kelowna judge finds him to be a danger to the public.
The hearing is scheduled to take three weeks after which he will be sentenced.
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