Oliver First Nations man charged with weapons smuggling to look at constitutional challenge
(STEVE ARSTAD / iNFOnews.ca)
December 21, 2017 - 4:00 PM
PENTICTON - The sentencing hearing for a First Nations man convicted of smuggling guns into Canada has was adjourned in Penticton court today.
The hearing will resume in mid-January to give Alex Louie of Oliver time to either get a lawyer or learn how to file the legal papers necessary for a constititutional challenge to the mandatory minimum sentence in the case.
Louie faces sentencing on five counts — two of firearms smuggling, two counts of firearms possession without a license, and one count of falsifying a statement with respect to import of goods — following a guilty verdict at his jury trial last October.
Louie was caught by Canadian border authorities on Feb. 1 at the Osoyoos border crossing with two guns strapped to his vehicle’s undercarriage.
He has been representing himself throughout the court proceedings.
Judge Arne Silverman has repeatedly urged Louie to seek legal counsel and did again today. At issue is whether or not he can be sentenced to less than the mandatory minimum of three years due to his aboriginal heritage.
“(The) absence of a constitutional challenge to the mandatory minimum penalty for the section this gentleman is facing, your hands are tied,” Crown prosecutor Clark Burnett told Justice Silverman.
Silverman repeatedly urged Louie to obtain the advice of a lawyer in order to assess whether a constitutional challenge would be possible in his case.
“I know you’re an intelligent man. I’m not saying you’re going to get less than a three-year sentence even if there was no minimum but it’s possible,” he told Louie.
Louie's response was to say the court had no legal authority over him.
The case returns to the courts on Jan. 19 in a conference to be conducted by telephone.
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