June 15, 2015 - 4:39 PM
PENTICTON - A 19-year-old Penticton man with a penchant for shooting people with an airsoft gun discovered today they are no toys in the eyes of the law.
Christian Darren Leggatt will spend 96 more days in jail for one incident and another 90 days for a second occurrence, Judge Gregory Koturbash decided in Penticton Provincial Court today, June 15, prior to discovering an error in evidence that may lessen in a lesser sentence.
The two incidents occurred in March of this year. On March 5, Leggatt was walking down the street with two others when an argument broke out between Leggatt and a man named Kwinten Clark. Leggatt pulled an airsoft pellet pistol from his jacket and fired at least five shots at Clark from close range, one shot narrowly missing his eye.
In a second incident that took place March 23, Leggatt was on his bicycle in the rear of Andre’s Electronics on Skaha Lake Road in Penticton when Stanley Faulkenham accused him of tagging the building.
Leggatt biked back to his room at The Pass Motor Inn, followed by Faulkenham in his pickup truck. He went into his room and came out seconds later with a pellet gun, firing between five and 10 shots at the pickup, said Crown prosecutor John Swanson.
The gun was described as a "high velocity" airsoft gun but it wasn't said if it was spring-or gas-powered.
“The Crown is very concerned when individuals arm themselves with weapons like this,” Swanson said. He noted Leggatt’s pellet handgun was very difficult to distinguish from a real weapon.
“These types of guns can be an extremely dangerous toy,” he said. Swanson asked for a nine-month jail term for the first offence along with a 10-year firearm restriction, and six months to be served consecutively for the second incident.
Defence lawyer John Stowell called the Crown’s position “excessive” while admitting his client showed “exuberant stupidity” in committing the acts. Leggatt, who appeared via video link, apologized for his actions, saying he “did not believe it would cause such harm.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt the kid. I’m sorry,” he said.
Leggatt's description of the second incident differed from the Crown’s in that he claimed Faulkenham seized his backpack, followed him back to his motel unit and began kicking the door. Leggatt said he fired the shots in the air as Faulkenham was returning to his truck, and no damage was done to the vehicle.
Stowell asked for a sentence of three months less a week, calling it a "meaningful sentence for a young man.”
Koturbash found mitigating circumstances in the facts Leggatt pled guilty to the offences, showed remorse, was young and of Metis ancestry.
He cited aggravating factors in the case to be Leggatt’s addiction to crystal meth, his criminal record and his past weapons possession for dangerous purposes charges.
Koturbash handed down a sentence of 96 days in addition to 84 days already served on three counts, which included possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes, assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm, to run concurrently. He was also given an additional 90 days on a count of possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes stemming from the second incident, to run consecutively. He also faces a 10-year firearm ban and probation.
One other aggravating factor Koturbash admitted “playing a part in the sentencing” involved Leggatt’s re-arming himself with another pellet gun for the second offence after the first weapon was seized. Court discovered after sentencing Leggatt was not charged until after the second offence, which was the first and only time a pellet gun was seized.
Swanson said he would have to check the testimony of an arresting officer in order to corroborate the new evidence. Stowell suggested a continuation of the sentencing while the evidence was checked, to which Koturbash agreed, telling Leggatt that the new information is "not going to hurt him, and may actually help him.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015