September 26, 2016 - 2:56 PM
PENTICTON - A man who claims he was “just celebrating” when he discharged a shotgun in Penticton will not face jail timed for his actions.
Kenneth Norman Ashe, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of careless use of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a license in Penticton court today, Sept. 26.
Ashe told Judge Gregory Koturbash he had merely been celebrating the night of the incident. He said he has regularly celebrated by discharging a gun in years past, promising it “would never happen again.”
“It better not, or you’ll be spending time in the newest 'hotel' in the Okanagan, in Oliver,” Judge Koturbash said, referring to the new Okanagan prison being built in Oliver.
Koturbash said it is not appropriate in this day and age to fire weapons in a community.
The charges stem from an incident that took place on Aug. 6, 2016. Crown Prosecutor Ann Lerechs said Penticton RCMP were called to a Winnipeg Street address shortly after midnight after receiving calls of shots fired.
A man who met police told them he had taken a firearm from a friend staying in a trailer on a nearby property.
Ashe was found in the trailer, where he was arrested without incident. Police conducted a search and found a gun cabinet with six firearms, including a 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition. Police also discovered Ashe’s firearms possession and acquisition licence had expired.
Neighbours in the area told police they heard three shots discharged. They said Ashe had been acting disgruntled recently, had been drinking and appeared to be mad at the world.
However, he also had no previous history of firing the weapon and generally acted responsibly, police also heard.
Lerechs said Ashe had no previous criminal record, requesting a suspended sentence and 18 months probation.
Defence lawyer James Pennington said his client’s actions were disturbing, but noted he had at least used a shotgun, where pellets would widely dispurse instead of the threat of a single bullet coming down and possibly striking someone. Pennington said things had been a bit rocky lately for his client, but since then he is back at work and things were going well. He said Ashe had been surprised to discover his firearms license had expired.
Pennington asked the judge for a conditional discharge.
Judge Koturbash said he wasn’t satisfied a conditional discharge was an appropriate sentence, adding Ashe’s actions scared people.
The judge agreed to a suspended sentence followed by an 18 month probationary period that includes a firearms ban. Ashe will be allowed 60 days to find someone entitled to possess his firearms or face forfeiture of the guns.
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