Kamloops judge overturns firearms ban so reformed robber can become a police officer | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops judge overturns firearms ban so reformed robber can become a police officer

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September 10, 2020 - 10:00 AM

A B.C. Supreme court judge has revoked a lifetime firearm ban 21 years after it was ordered so a reformed former thief can apply to become a police officer.

In the recently published decision, Justice Leonard Marchand describes Terence Scott Fehr as "a community-minded and law-abiding citizen" who 21 years earlier made a "terrible decision" as a "very young man" in a time of financial need.

"He decided to rob a gas station," Justice Marchand said. "In the course of the robbery, he suddenly realized that he could not do it. He returned a wallet with cash in it to the gas station attendant and ran out of the station."

He was quickly arrested.

Justice Marchand's judgement, delivered at the Kamloops courthouse Dec. 2, 2019, but just published online, says Fehr pleaded guilty to the offence weeks later and was sentenced to three months house arrest, community service, and as mandatory in the Criminal Code, a lifetime firearms ban.

"Since that low point in his life, Mr. Fehr has led an exceptionally pro-social life," Justice Marchand said.

He became an electrician, married and had three children, and "followed his heart to make a tangible difference in people's lives as a pastor."

In 2008, Fehr received a pardon from the National Parole Board.

A decade later he applied to become a police officer, but in March 2019 was told his application could not proceed because his pardon did not cancel his lifetime firearms ban.

"On the basis of everything I have read about Mr. Fehr, I have no doubt that he is the kind of person who would fulfil that role admirably," reads the decision.

Fehr then applied to the court to lift his firearms ban.

In the decision, Justice Marchand discusses the law that binds his decision on whether the court can overturn the lifetime firearms ban.

Ultimately, Justice Marchand says it can.

"I have no hesitation in exercising my inherent jurisdiction in favour of Mr. Fehr. He is a person who made one terrible mistake many years ago but has since led an exemplary life," the Justice said. "There is no doubt in my mind that vacating Mr. Fehr's lifetime firearms prohibition will not jeopardize public safety. In fact, in my view, there is a very good chance it will enhance public safety."

The justice says the weapons ban is preventing him from "pursuing his dream of becoming a police officer" and from "fully realizing his potential to contribute to his community."

Ultimately the justice overturned the firearms ban.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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