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Harsh jail term sought against culprit in 2014 Vernon shootout

FILE PHOTO: Polson Park
May 26, 2017 - 1:08 PM

VERNON - A stiff jail sentence is being sought in relation to a 2014 Vernon shooting to send a message that gun violence won’t be tolerated.

Crown lawyer Jeremy Guild asked Supreme Court Justice Peter Rogers to impose a jail sentence of eight to 11 years against Jacob Lowes, 31, who was convicted on gun charges related to a shoot out in Polson Park three years ago.

Guild said that generally speaking, sentences imposed against offenders in the past have not proved sufficient to deter gun violence and higher jail terms are needed.

“Gun violence is increasing,” Guild said.

He pointed to statistics from the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment that show a jump in crimes involving firearms in 2015 and 2016.

Guild made a similar argument for harsher sentences in a separate firearms case earlier this year, citing the rising prevalence of gun violence in Vernon. 

Today, May 26, during Lowes’ sentence hearing, Guild said the Aug. 12, 2014 incident was like a “wild west shoot out.”

In earlier proceedings, court heard how two men — Adrian Dziedzic and Robin Rochement — attempted to rob a unit in the Green Valley Motel, and were subsequently chased into Polson Park by Lowes.

Guild described several aggravating factors, including the danger to innocent bystanders, the timing and location of the shooting — during morning rush hour in a public park bordered by two main highways — and the fact that Lowes was prohibited from possessing guns. He said the very reason Lowes had the guns in the first place was aggravating.

“The only reason he possessed it was in defence of his drug trade in unit 109 of the Green valley Motel,” Guild said. “…. It’s not just the fact that he had a firearm and went and chased Mr. Rochement and Mr. Dziedzic because they robbed him. It’s that he was actually prepared and ready to do that for the drug business. That’s part of the planning to be in the drug business.”

He argued that made it a vigilante action worthy of significant denunciation and deterrence.

Guild also referenced Lowes’ criminal record, which includes assault, assault with a weapon, making threats and possession for the purpose of trafficking. He has breached his probation 11 times and committed one of the assaults while in jail. Guild described Lowes as a career criminal who does not seem to have respect for the law.

Defence counsel Glenn Verdurmen is expected to make arguments for a sentence closer to the mandatory minimum of five years.

The sentence hearing continues Friday afternoon.


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