Judge: “Well, this is Saskatchewan, and we’ve all fired at gophers”

“Well, this is Saskatchewan, and we’ve all fired at gophers.”

That was one of Judge Michelle Brass’s concluding statements in an odd case before her in Estevan Provincial Court on Monday. It involved an inherited rifle, a ricochet, an “expired” gopher and a SaskTel crew.

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Calvin Annetts, 58, of Alida, represented himself while facing one charge of possessing a firearm without a licence. He pleaded guilty.

Crown prosecutor Mitch Crumley laid out the case. A SaskTel crew of three were working on a tower at Alida when they heard some shooting nearby.

“One felt there was a ricochet,” Crumley said, referring to a bullet that has bounced off of something.

Annetts was on his own property, and carrying a firearm. There were words exchanged, but not angry or violent ones, Crumley noted. They were more along the lines of “We’re here, what are you doing?”

No one was struck by the ricochet, he said.

Police were called, and they found Annetts to be very polite. He explained to them he had been shooting at a gopher, and it was not in line with the tower. Rather, he was firing in a different direction.

“He fired three rounds at the gopher. He managed to hit it and the gopher expired,” Crumley said, noting he showed police the gopher.

The firearm was from Annetts’ father’s estate, he added. Annetts did not have a licence.

When asked by Brass if that was how it happened, Annetts agreed.

“I was just hunting gophers on my own property. I was shooting this way, the tower’s that way,” he said.

The judge asked when the firearm was obtained.

“In the 80s,” he replied.

“Well, this is Saskatchewan, and we’ve all fired at gophers,” Brass said.

She chose not to impose a firearms prohibition, but by law had to order a forfeiture of the rifle. She asked if the gun would be destroyed, and Crumley expected it would be.

Brass imposed a $200 fine, to which Annetts said, “I’ll pay it today.”

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