A Crown prosecutor suggests gun related crimes are on the rise in Vernon — and the courts have to send a message to stop it.
Jeremy Guild made the comment in calling for an 8 to 11 year prison sentence for Jacob Lowes in BC Supreme Court.
The 31 year old Lowes was convicted of assault causing bodily harm after firing a gun at two other men in Polson Park in August 2014, after a drug related robbery attempt at Lowes’ apartment in the Green Valley Motel.
Lowes chased the two other men out of his unit and across the highway into the park, where he fired three shots, but no one was injured.
Guild says there were 20 crimes involving guns last year in Vernon — up five from the year before — and he says the courts have to deter that with stronger sentences.
“Gun violence is increasing. It’s not just conjecture,” he told Justice Peter Rogers.
Defence lawyer Glenn Verdurmen disagreed with the Crown’s statement, saying there could be “all kinds of reasons a firearm is used.”
“There is no standard of proof that Vernon has a particular problem with guns. They are extremely general statistics.”
Guild replied the stats were for “all crimes where a gun was involved.”
Lowes is facing at least a five year term which is the minimum for gun related offences.
When asked what sentence he would be seeking for his client, Verdurmen told Kiss FM, “a lot less” than what the Crown wanted.
Guild says his recommended sentence also takes into account the danger Lowes put the public n.
“This occurred in a very public place — as public as it can get — a factor that increases the severity of the offence, and the sentence should be much higher.”
Part of Lowes’ criminal record was read out in court and included earlier convictions for assault, , assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and trafficking.