A Nanaimo man charged in an August 2016 shotgun-firing incident will not serve any jail time.
Eric Gene Wesley Jr. received a conditional discharge during sentencing at provincial court in Nanaimo on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty in July 2017 to careless use or storage of a firearm in an Aug. 24, 2016 incident, when he fired at two men in a truck following a dispute.
Cody Robert Rees and William Edwin Waller, the men in the truck, were both charged with assault and Rees was also charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.
According to Leanne Mascolo, Crown counsel, Wesley Jr. didn’t have a criminal history previously. He told police there had been a history of harassment between the three parties. Wesley Jr. said he saw two people driving by his house, with one of the men pointing out Wesley Jr.’s house to the other occupant. They drove away after Wesley Jr. shone a light at them.
Mascolo said Wesley Jr. went to his father’s house and grabbed a 12-gauge shotgun and some rounds from a combination safe. The two men again appeared by Wesley Jr.’s residence and one had something in his hand. Wesley Jr. fired a warning shot into a bush, yelled and then two shots at the vehicle. A bat and hammer were found by police in the vehicle.
The Crown sought a two-year weapons prohibition and Babak Zargarian, Wesley Jr.’s legal counsel, sought no ban. Zargarian said Wesley Jr., a member of Snuneymuxw First Nation, has completed a firearms safety course and also hunts to provide food for members of the nation. Wesley Jr. is a very good shot and is generous with band members, Zargarian said.
Wesley Jr., who has been on bail since August 2016, has not violated any conditions and Judge Ronald Lamperson sentenced him to two years’ probation as part of the conditional discharge.
Lamperson said there is no need for Wesley Jr. to possess firearms until he is out hunting and ordered that the only time he may be in possession is if it’s a non-restricted firearm and he is travelling to and from a place where he is hunting, for purposes of food provision. Wesley Jr. must also be in the presence of someone who can legally hunt.
Should Wesley Jr. abide by conditions, he will not receive a criminal record.