Campbell River Mirror

Gun conviction earns three-year jail sentence

In the early morning hours of July 27, 2012, three men, all well-known to police, were riding together in a car when the driver went through the red light at Jubilee Parkway and the Inland Island Highway.

Problem was, the only other vehicle coming their way was a police cruiser, driven by a veteran officer who stopped the car and immediately recognized the occupants.

Devin Clark, 31, was behind the wheel, Charles Ryan Lafleur, 29, was a passenger and Lucas Makoseij, 31, was in the back seat “covered in blood.”

Clark, who was sweating profusely, had a speck of blood on him while Makoseij said he didn’t know why he was covered in blood.

That was enough for the officer to further investigate. He found two  bags containing small amounts of cocaine and heroin, and then a loaded handgun under the front seat. The .38 special contained two live rounds and the serial number had been filed off.

As a result, all three men were arrested, but at the RCMP detachment, Lafleur confessed.

“I want to tell you something,” Lafleur told the officer guarding his cell. “The guys didn’t know what I had…they’re my beef.”

Clark and Makoseij were later released from custody while Lafleur was charged with five firearms offences and two more counts for possession of a controlled substance.

On Jan. 8, in B.C. Supreme Court in Campbell River, Lafleur pleaded guilty to possessing a restricted firearm with ammunition and possessing a firearm contrary to court order. The order stems from a previous conviction for assault causing bodily harm.

With the guilty pleas, Lafleur automatically received a three-year jail sentence for breaching the court order. He received another two months for possessing the gun and, earlier in provincial court, he had received a 30-day sentence after being found with drugs in Victoria.

“Mr. Lafleur (understood) the minimum three-year sentence right from the beginning,” said defence lawyer Martin Allen. “From the time of his arrest, he took full responsibility. He needed to do the right thing.”

However, Allen took issue with the minimum mandatory sentence of three years. He argued that Lafleur should be given additional credit for pre-trial custody and for entering an early guilty plea, thereby avoiding a costly trial.

Allen also noted that Lafleur has been in custody at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria which is “staggering overcrowded.” He suggested that the judge take at least two months off the sentence for time served.

However, Justice T. Armstrong said crimes involving guns and drugs are “extremely worrisome” and the minimum sentence of three years “clearly reflects Parliament’s concern.”

“This community has a right to be free of this type of activity,” the judge said, who also urged Lafluer to think about his children in future circumstances that could lead to trouble.

In addition to the jail time, the judge ordered the forfeiture of the weapon, two cell phones and $235 in cash, also found in the car. Lafleur also received a lifetime firearms ban.

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