Good intentions have led to fines for a reputed gang member who was caught driving when he wasn’t supposed to, and with a can of prohibited pepper spray.
Defence lawyer Ryan Fawcett said his client was doing his girlfriend a favour — he was picking up her car after she went out drinking the night before.
“Obviously, he did himself no favours in doing so,” Fawcett said.
Andrew O’Neill, 33, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to driving while disqualified, possession of a weapon contrary to a court order and unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon.
Brandon police detectives spotted O’Neill driving near Richmond Avenue and 22nd Street on March 6.
They called for a marked police car to intercept O’Neill because they knew he was on a one-year driving prohibition for a brief police chase in August 2011.
During his arrest for prohibited driving, police found a small can of pepper spray on the car’s key chain.
At the time, O’Neill was under two weapon prohibitions due to previous convictions for drug trafficking offences.
O’Neill told police that the pepper spray belonged to his girlfriend and he didn’t realize it was a weapon. O’Neill believed it was a flashlight, his lawyer said during a previous court appearance.
On Tuesday, Crown attorney Jim Ross told court that it’s an explanation that he accepts.
Ross said O’Neill is known to justice authorities as a member of the Zig Zag Crew, a gang associated with the Hells Angels. Ross said police believe O’Neill comes to Brandon to work as a money collector on behalf of those gangs.
Fawcett, on the other hand, said O’Neill's work as an apprentice tattoo artist brings him here from time to time but he continues to live in Winnipeg.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta fined O’Neill a total of $1,700 for all three offences and placed him on another one-year ban which will begin at the end of his current ban, which will expire this fall.
While out on bail, O’Neill was banned from coming to Brandon except to work, court or meetings with his lawyer. Now that he has dealt with his charges, that ban is lifted.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 25, 2012