The Crown is appealing a case in which a Manitoba judge rejected the federal government’s mandatory minimum sentence for gun crimes.
A Crown attorney has filed an appeal notice in the case of a Carberry man who was sentenced to one year in jail earlier this month.
The mandatory minimum under a recent federal law is four years in prison, but Justice John Menzies of Court of Queen’s Bench in Brandon ruled that term would be “excessive” and “harsh.”
The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to reckless use of a firearm by shooting six rounds from a .22-calibre rifle into the home of a person he said had been tormenting him.
Menzies said the mandatory minimum under the federal law would amount to cruel and unusual punishment in the defendant’s case, and violate the man’s charter rights.
Although 19 years old at the time of the shooting, the Brandon Sun has chosen not to name the offender so it can refer to a crime he committed as a youth — a crime said to have led to the bullying that ultimately led to the shooting.
The shooter said he snapped after years of torment by community members.
Residents harassed him after he entered a Carberry home in October 2009 and stole a couple of pairs of women’s underwear.
In July 2010, he received an 18-month conditional discharge with 60 hours of community service work for break and enter.
Following the 2009 incident, graffiti that called him a “loser” and “panty thief for life” had been spray-painted on the wall of the town post office.
In the early morning of Sept. 5, 2011, he fired six shots into a Carberry home to put a “scare” into the man he believed responsible. Three shots pierced the living room window just above a couch where the homeowner and a young woman lay, but no one was hit.
The Crown’s appeal claims Menzies made an error in concluding there were no “demonstrably justified” exceptions to violations of the defendant’s fundamental rights.
The man’s defence lawyer has yet to file a response to the appeal.
» With files from The Canadian Press, Winnipeg Free Press and Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 25, 2013