North Okanagan man avoids jail after being caught in isolated spot with illegal handgun | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon News

North Okanagan man avoids jail after being caught in isolated spot with illegal handgun


Brydon Grace was standing alone next to a campfire in an isolated spot of a deserted lake outside Vernon when he was arrested for being in possession of a restricted handgun.

The Conservation Officer that arrested him had to walk 20 minutes to the other side of the lake to where Grace was standing as the track was too rough for his vehicle.

The 26-year-old from Lumby cooperated with police following the arrest and on Mar. 10 avoided going to jail for his crimes.

Instead, Justice Jasmin Ahmad sentenced Grace to two years house arrest, where he will spend the next 12 months, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at home with his mother, grandmother and two siblings in Lumby.

After that, the conditions change to a curfew from 6 p.m. to 11 a.m.

Justice Ahmad pointed to the isolated spot where Grace was found, along with his lack of criminal record, or any involvement in a criminal lifestyle, as the reason Grace wouldn't do time behind bars.

Character references describe him as "caring, helpful, and kind."

Nevertheless, Crown prosecutors had asked for two and a half years jail.

Not long ago, Grace's crime came with a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.

According to a Mar. 10 B.C. Supreme Court decision, after the Conservation Officer caught up to Grace on the other side of Bardolph Lake, northeast of Vernon, he saw a backpack with the end of a gun pointing out of it.

The conservation officer found Grace had a .40 calibre semi-automatic pistol.

"The magazine was inserted in the bottom of the handgun. There was no case for the handgun nor was there a trigger lock or any other safety mechanisms on the handgun. No rounds were in the chamber. However, there were nine live rounds in the magazine," the decision reads. "In addition to the handgun, the officer found a box of undischarged ammunition in the backpack, which was approximately two-thirds empty. He also noted two spent shell casings on the ground behind the ATV."

He was charged and convicted with: handling a firearm in a careless manner, possessing a restricted firearm knowing that he was not the holder of a license, possessing a loaded restricted firearm and occupying a vehicle knowing there was a restricted firearm in the vehicle.

The decision says there was no one else at the lake at the time.

In the court document, Grace described himself as an introvert, who still lives at home in Lumby with his mom, grandmother and two siblings.

He'd worked in the logging industry but that came to an end at the beginning of the pandemic. He's since made a living fixing up old cars and ATVs.

He said he's always loved the outdoors and sports.

Grace had told the RCMP he had the restricted handgun because he was "always in the bush" on his own where he did not feel safe.

He said having the gun was a "stupid mistake."

Much of the decision is given to deciding whether Grace should spend time behind bars.

"In this case, no individual victim complained of or was directly harmed by Mr. Grace’s conduct," Justice Ahmed said. "However... gun-related crime poses grave danger to Canadians."

The Justice said it's aggravating that Grace took a loaded gun from his home to the lake which is used by the public.

"The fact that the gun was loaded represented both a risk to himself and any member of the public who may have been enjoying the lake or spending time outdoors," the Justice said.

However, the Justice also pointed to the isolation of the spot where Grace was, and how the Conservation Officer had to walk there because it wasn't accessible by vehicle.

In deciding a sentence of house arrest, Justice Ahmad said that Grace did not "pose the same real and immediate danger to the public" as offenders who carry loaded guns in urban areas.

"The conviction is out of character with the otherwise non-criminal lifestyle of Mr. Grace," the Justice said.

Nowhere in the decision does it say how Grace obtained the restricted weapon.

"Mr. Grace, it is clear to me that these offences are out of character for you. I hope that you will use the time you have to complete your high school education as you have indicated is your intention. I wish you the best," The Justice said.

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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