KAMLOOPS - After losing an appeal, a Merritt man will spend three years behind bars for trying to sell a shotgun he found to his drug dealer.
Rodney James Boesel pleaded guilty in 2015 to transferring a Browning 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun. Although the charge he pleaded to has a mandatory minimum jail sentence of three years, Boesel appealed his sentence on the grounds of it being cruel and unusual.
According to a written decision by Supreme Court judge Hope Hyslop, Boesel was arrested in May 2014 after attempting to sell a shotgun he found to his new drug dealer.
Boesel told the court that on May 1, he saw a man and woman near his apartment building and went to see what they were up to. When he got outside, the couple had left but he found a plastic bag on the ground. When he looked inside, he discovered a shotgun.
Boesel decided to call a drug dealer he had known for a few weeks, since his previous one died. He didn't know his new dealer had been arrested, so when an RCMP officer answered the phone, Boesel said he "had a weird question for you guys."
He then offered to sell the shotgun for $80 and a "piece of rock" to whom he believed was the dealer. The parties arranged to meet and make the exchange during Boesel's work day near his apartment.
Police recovered the gun from a camper nearby, which Boesel had directed them to. In his statement to police the next day, Boesel said he didn't think about what someone could have done with the gun after purchasing it.
Crown argued the situation wasn't due to an opiate addict's need for a drug fix, pointing out Boesel had been working that day, and in his affidavit he didn't say he was in a desperate need for a fix.
In 2008, the mandatory minimum sentence for this offence was increased from one year to three years for a first offence. Boesel argued that's too long for the offence he committed, but Hyslop disagreed.
"Whether the sentences for gun trafficking was before or after the three-year minimum mandatory sentence was legislated... the sentence ranges for the most part have not changed," she said. "The ranges appear to be from three to four years, increasing dependent upon the facts and their egregiousness and the number of counts that the offender was found guilty of or pled guilty to."
Hyslop also said Boesel "would know that (the gun) would have no other use to a drug dealer other than to threaten, maim or even kill people."
Boesel argued a jail sentence would have a significant effect on him and that he's had a hard time in custody from other inmates, but Hyslop decided three years was a fit sentence for him.
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