Road rage incident with pistol BB gun results in 18 months probation

A road rage incident which involved the waving of a pistol BB-gun netted Seth Tavares an 18-month suspended sentence and probation during that period, as well as a 10-year weapons prohibition.

Crown prosecutor Chris Gratton laid out the case for Judge Lane Wiegers as part of a joint submission with the defence. Tavares pleaded guilty to three of five charges from the incident.

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The charges that stuck included handling a firearm (handgun) in a careless manner, uttering a threat to cause bodily harm, and carrying an imitation of a weapon, a pellet gun (although in the proceedings, all parties referred to it as a BB gun).

The remaining charges of using an imitation firearm while committing an indictable offence and intimidation were stayed.

Gratton explained that on Nov. 27, 2018, a mechanic was test-driving another vehicle, while Tavares was driving an older model red Dodge. This “resulted in a road rage type incident,” Gratton said.

Tavares held up in his right hand a handheld BB gun. The complainant later reported the incident to the RCMP and provided the police with a picture. The police located Tavares, and found the BB gun tucked in behind the seat.

Gratton asked for an 18-month suspended sentence with probation, adding, “We feel it’s somewhat lower on the scale.”

Defence attorney Nicholas Robinson, appearing by phone, said that Tavares was 21 years old and an apprentice at a local truck dealership. He characterized the suggested sentence as “mid-range.”

Robinson said the “resolution was a good one,” and that Tavares did not wish to speak on his own behalf.

Wiegers told Tavares he was a young man with a lot of positive things going for him. He said the early guilty plea was a mitigating factor.

However, he added, “Just a hint of introducing a gun to any threatening situation escalates the matter,” and that it can be a traumatic experience for the other person, adding another layer to the situation.

Wiegers noted that BB guns can still cause serious bodily harm, but less serious than a conventional firearm. “The other party doesn’t know if it is a much more powerful gun,” Wiegers said.

He added it could be a much more serious sentence, but he accepted the joint submission calling for an 18-month suspended sentence and probation order. He made the sentence concurrent for all three counts.

Additionally, Tavares is to have no contact with the victim in the case, and is to take personal counselling and anger management treatment. He is prohibited from owning a firearm for 10 years, and prohibited from possession a prohibited-class of weapon for life. He must forfeit the BB gun and provide samples of his DNA to police.

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