A Campbell River man who pointed a gun at an off-duty RCMP officer and was found with a stash of 100 weapons and explosives in his house, many of them prohibited or unregistered, was sentenced to two years in a federal prison by a provincial court judge Tuesday.
Tony Green, 55, was also sentenced to 30 days concurrently for being in possession of a sword cane when he was out on bail last October.
In addition, Judge Catherine Crockett decided in Campbell River Provincial Court that Green is to be prohibited from owning firearms for 15 years and will be on probation for two years following his prison sentence. A no-contact order with the police officer he pointed the gun at, Const. Nick Underhill, and probation officer Jessica Martens and their families was also imposed.
Green pleaded guilty to 19 weapons-related offences after a stay of proceedings (SOP) was granted on six more and one failure to comply charge after a SOP on two others.
“They include pointing a firearm, possession of a handgun for a dangerous purpose, several unlawful storage counts and possession of several prohibited firearms – some loaded, some not – plus possession of explosives,” Judge Crockett said when delivering her reasons for sentence Tuesday.
The weapons charges arose from an incident on Jan. 28, 2019 in the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands in Campbell River.
The breach charge arose when Green, who was in custody for some time before he was granted bail, breached his bail on Oct 8, 2019 by being in possession of a weapon, that being a sword cane. He pleaded guilty to that breach and has been in custody since then.
The defence and Crown entered a joint submission before the judge, the goal of which is to give Green credit for the time he has already spent in custody plus an additional two years in custody so that it can be served in a federal corrections facility where Green can access counselling programs.
Green has no prior criminal record but he did suffer a “traumatic upbringing,” as outlined in a psychologist’s report that was given to the court, as well as suffering chronic injuries as an adult for which he takes medication. The psychologist said Green suffers from a major depressive disorder as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. He has a service dog named Darcy which figures into the story. Green is also a gun collector but he said he never intended to use any of the weapons.
On Jan. 28, 2019, Green was walking his service dog Darcy on the trails in the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands when he encountered Const. Underhill who was riding his bike with his own dog while wearing earphones or earbuds. When Underhill passed Green, Darcy began running after him. Green called after Underhill to stop but could not be heard. Green said he panicked because he was afraid he was going to lose Darcy whom he is dependent on.
Underhill arrived at the parking lot, took off his earbuds and heard Green calling for his dog. Underhill loaded his bike on his vehicle and approached an angry Green who repeatedly asked him why he didn’t stop. Underhill explained that he was wearing earbuds and could not hear him. Green was yelling and swearing at Underhill.
“Mr Underhill eventually said ‘F*** you, I’m trying to help,” the judge said. “At that point, Mr. Green pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Mr. Underhill’s head for 10-15 seconds.”
Darcy then emerged from the bushes and Green stopped pointing the gun at Underhill, who then informed Green he just pointed a gun at a police officer.
“Mr. Green said ‘he’d better f****** get out of here,’” the judge said.
Underhill then called 911 and followed Green to his home in his car. Police arrived and arrested Green. A search of the car turned up the handgun and two magazines Green had removed from his gun.
Green told the police he carried the gun to protect his dog from cougars. He said he did not intend to harm Underhill and knew he had made a big mistake, the judge said.
Police obtained a search warrant for Green’s home which upon entering, they discovered “a vast stockpile of firearms and related items.” The search of the home took four days. The guns were found throughout the house and were not properly stored. Some firearms were loaded, some were not. Some were prohibited. Some had proper registration or did not require registration. Some were not registered or were improperly registered.
In total, the police seized 100 firearms consisting of handguns, shotguns and rifles including semi-automatic military assault-style rifles. They also located gun cases, holsters and other types of weapons such as axes, spears, knives, machetes and swords. They also found tools, clothing, military vests, food stashes and camping gear. They also found ammunition and in the garage discovered 105 sticks of dynamite, electronic detonators and related items. The search was terminated at that point and an explosives squad was brought in.
The judge said the mitigating factors in the case are that Green has accepted responsibility for his actions, his personal background alluded to earlier and the fact that at 55-years-old, this is Green’s first appearance before the court.
“I accept that Mr. Green is otherwise a law-abiding citizen and that he meant no harm to Mr. Underhill nor to anyone else,” the judge said.
“On the other hand, keeping and caring of firearms in the manner done by Mr. Green represents an extreme risk to the public,” the judge said
Offences of this nature require emphasis on not just rehabilitation and a specific deterrence to Green but also a general deterrence to the public at large, the judge said.
“It is fortunate that nothing more serious resulted from Mr. Green’s situation,” the judge said. “A significant jail sentence is necessary to deter others from similar behaviour.”
Green spent 193 days in custody and was credited with a rate of one day in jail is equal to 1.5 days, so time in custody is 290 days. The judge said she would have imposed a sentence of two years and 219 days for Green’s offences but instead is sentencing him to two years in addition to the equivalent of 290 days already served.
Green is also ordered to provide a DNA sample, even though he had asked the court to not impose such an order because he would consider it a violation of his rights and freedoms.
Green will also have to forfeit many of the weapons that were found in his possession that he didn’t have permits for or were restricted or prohibited. The specific weapons that will be forfeited is yet to be determined. That aspect of the case was adjourned to allow the Crown and defence to work out the forfeiture details.