After careful consideration of Gladue and FASD factors, an Indigenous offender found guilty of numerous weapons offences, was given a sentence of 73 months, with 23.5 months for enhanced credit, leaving 49.5 months going forward.
Mr. Thompson was charged with numerous weapons offences following a single incident in 2019, where he had in his possession a sawed off shotgun and several rounds of ammunition near downtown Regina. He was convicted on all eight of weapons related offences. At trial Mr. Thompson adamantly denied any knowledge of the sawed-off shotgun which he carried in his backpack. His girlfriend Ms. Peresien, who was also in custody on unrelated matters, testified that the gun was hers. None of their testimony was accepted by the Court. The Court found that the Crown proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt and accordingly convicted him. Mr. Thompson’s admission at the sentencing, after two days of trial involving nine witnesses, numerous documents and countless hours of court time, and at which Mr. Thompson and his girlfriend apparently committed perjury, was disconcerting to the Court.
Mr. Thompson is 36 years of age. A comprehensive Gladue Report was filed with the Court which included details about his mother, who was from Sakimay First Nation, had attended residential schools and passed away in 2015. His father was from Little Pine First Nation and is currently living but in poor health. Mr. Thompson lived in numerous foster care homes periodically due to abuse from his mother, who drank excessively thereby he may suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). He was physically abused at Residential Schools and his parents were drug dealers. He is himself a drug addict and has spent many years of his life in youth facilities, jails and penitentiaries. He has amassed 101 Criminal Code convictions. Nine of those were for violent offences including several assaults, an armed robbery, and an assault causing bodily harm. During his latest period of incarceration Mr. Thompson had started reading self-help books, which he claimed had significantly changed his attitude and perspective on life.
Mr. Thompson’s conduct in this matter clearly falls within the definition of a true crime. This was not an offence which is regulatory in nature such as in the case of a hunting rifle stored close to ammunition (R v Myrie, 2020 ONCJ 430). Sentencing courts must acknowledge the inherent danger of illegal firearms in our communities and send a message that the possession, transportation and use of illegal guns must not be tolerated (R v McKenzie, 2020 SKPC 31).
Mr. Thompson has significant Gladue factors and, although no formal diagnosis of FASD was presented to the Court, it is likely that he suffers from FASD. Enhanced at 1.5 – 1., Mr. Thompson will receive credit on the sentence of 23.5 months. Total time going forward is therefore 49.5 months. All concurrent time is unaffected by the pre-trial credit. Pursuant to the Gladue Report, this Court is recommending that Mr. Thompson be considered for the Willow Cree Healing Lodge and the programming it offers.