A man who accepted hush money and aided a robber by hiding the gun used during a gaming centre heist has been sentenced to jail.
His lawyer argued that his client should be entitled to some leniency as, in the end, he co-operated with the police investigation and led them to the hidden gun.
“Ultimately, we say he did the right thing,” defence lawyer Ryan Fawcett told court.
Kenneth Bradley Pearce, 36, was sentenced on Monday for possessing a firearm while banned and for possession of property obtained by crime.
Crown attorney Ron Toews said that on Jan. 24, a man walked into the gaming centre at the Keeseekoowenin First Nation.
The disguised man pointed a gun at the attendant, threatened her and demanded cash and cigarettes.
The attendant handed over the money and smokes and the man fled to the home of Pearce and his wife. That’s because the robber is allegedly the nephew of Pearce’s wife and he had been staying at their home.
At the house, the robber threw a pillow case that held the money and cigarettes at the foot of the bed where his aunt and Pearce had been sleeping.
There was about $3,000 in cash and at least 30 packs of cigarettes.
Toews said Pearce then drove a snowmobile over the robber’s tracks so police couldn’t follow them from the gaming centre to the home.
Pearce also helped to hide the gun in a snowbank, although he ultimately later helped investigators locate the weapon.
Pearce was banned from having guns at the time that he helped to hide it.
The disguise used by the robber was hidden in a field.
The robber then gave Pearce and his wife $700 to keep their mouths shut, and also handed them some packs of cigarettes.
It’s alleged that the robber’s aunt then drove her nephew to the Brandon bus depot, where he boarded a bus for Edmonton.
It’s further alleged that, once in Edmonton, he committed a further robbery and is currently in custody there.
The aunt is accused of lying to police by telling them that her nephew had boarded the bus for Edmonton prior to the robbery.
She also allegedly gave police a false description of her nephew.
She and the nephew still face charges so the allegations surrounding them haven’t been proven in court.
It’s not clear when the nephew will be sent back to Manitoba to face the allegations against him.
For Pearce’s part in the crime, Judge John Combs sentenced him to 240 days in jail minus 37 days pre-sentence custody, which left 203 days left to serve.
That split the difference between the nine to 12 months in jail suggested by Toews, and the four to six months requested by Fawcett.
Fawcett said that Pearce didn’t take part in the planning or execution of the robbery.
He said Pearce found himself in a tough spot when the robber showed up at his house, panicked and made bad decisions.
As for the tracks in the snow, Fawcett suggested that Pearce may not have intended to run them over.
The tracks were on the route Pearce would typically take to the gaming centre or to go get cigarettes.
Pearce had paid a visit to the gaming centre shortly after the robbery.
Janelle Leslie-Marie Pearce still faces charges in connection with the matter.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 13, 2013