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Vernon judge makes an example of man convicted of more than 20 gun, drug and identity charges

Ronald Charles Learning
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July 05, 2017 - 4:05 PM

VERNON - Ronald Learning will spend six years in jail for putting the community at risk with guns and drugs, a Supreme Court judge ruled today.

Learning, 34, received the hefty sentence today, July 5, in connection with a long line of offences from January 2015. Learning was arrested as part of a sting operation by police in 2015 that was launched after 363 grams of heroin hidden in lamps was intercepted by border security.

Undercover officers traced the package, which originated from Thailand, to Learning and later found firearms, a stolen passport and birth certificate, various amounts of oxycodone, hydromorphone and morphine, a baggie of marijuana, money transfers to Thailand, digital scales and bundled cash in his Vernon residence.

Judge Gary Weatherill said there were numerous aggravating factors, including the fact that Learning was on bail for separate charges out of Saskatchewan at the time. Weatherill added that some of the guns were loaded and said they were part and parcel to his drug dealing business, which he was involved in at the mid-to-high level.

“The overall collective security of the community is seriously compromised by offences like those Mr. Learning was engaged in,” Weatherill said.

He said Learning showed little if any regard for the consequences drugs could have on the community, particularly youth and those struggling with addiction. Earlier in his judgement, Weatherill noted that Learning suffered a work-related injury and subsequently became addicted to Percocet. He said Learning attributes his difficulties in life to his drug use.

“The news is replete with the negative and often tragic consequences of the illegal drug trade….” Weatherill said. “In a word, it is a scourge.”

Weatherill said gun violence is rising across the country and those who commit firearms and drug offences are not getting the message. Higher sentences are needed to show offenders that there are consequences to participating in the business of illicit drugs and guns, Weatherill said.

He ordered a total jail term of six years on Learning’s list of more than 20 charges. The time will be added on to the nearly nine years Learning is already serving for drug charges out of Saskatchewan, meaning he’ll be behind bars for almost 15 years. He will receive 87 days off his sentence for time already served awaiting trial.

Weatherill imposed a lifetime ban on the possession of firearms and other weapons, and also made a civil forfeiture order, meaning Learning will have to turn over all property related to the offence, including guns, drugs, and cash.

When asked in court if he had anything to say for himself, Learning said he was at a loss for words.

“I know what was done was wrong and I don’t know how to express that more….” Learning said. “All I can say is I am aware of how everything looks in the public’s eye, and I’m not the person that’s made out today.”


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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