Kelowna man who fired prohibited semi-automatic gun in his apartment got jail time reduced | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna man who fired prohibited semi-automatic gun in his apartment got jail time reduced

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December 21, 2020 - 7:00 AM

An Indigenous Kelowna man jailed for six years for firing off a gun in his apartment while in a psychotic state, has had a year knocked off his sentence after the B.C. Court of Appeal ruled the original judge had failed to fully take into account his aboriginal heritage.

In a decision earlier this month, the three-judge panel found that the sentencing judge gave only "very modest weight" to Coda Dayne Gheslain Hiscock's Indigenous background and had overlooked the intergenerational trauma that played a significant role in his life.

Hiscock, who was 31 at the time, was convicted for firing at least seven shots from a prohibited semi-automatic firearm while at home in his Kelowna apartment in March 2018. Several of the bullets hit an unoccupied car parked outside but no one was injured.

The court found Hiscock had used methamphetamine earlier that day and he was suspected to be in a "psychotic or manic state" when he fired the weapon.

He was convicted for four weapons charges and sentenced to a total of six years jail.

However, Hiscock appealed the length of the sentence arguing the judge hadn’t taken into account the mitigating circumstances of his indigenous background, as the law requires.

The Canadian Criminal Code mandates judges must take into account aggravating or mitigating circumstances related to offenders with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders.

According to the decision, Hiscock experienced a childhood that included "many of the features of Indigenous people in Canada" and had been a victim of physical and emotional abuse, along with "insecurity, instability, and an early exposure to alcohol and drug abuse" as well as a "general loss of his cultural heritage.”

Hiscock’s lawyer argued while the original judge acknowledged Hiscock’s background had many “tragic and disturbing features,” he was wrong in saying that his background did not “point to any particular systemic issues” that led to him committing the shooting.

However, the Appeal Court panel found that the connection between the inter-generational trauma, emotional and physical violence, loss of connection with Indigenous heritage and culture, criminal involvement, the early death of family because of substance abuse and violence, family breakdown, and the dysfunctional behaviour that Hiscock had experienced were all connected with Aboriginal status and had to be considered when assessing his moral blameworthiness during sentencing.

“In my view, in the circumstances of this offence, his background must have a mitigating effect upon sentence,” Justice Mary Saunders said in the decision.

Ultimately, Hiscock’s sentence is reduced by 12 months, leaving him to serve a further one year and 10 months in prison.

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