Canada ranks in the top ten countries worldwide for firearm ownership. For every 100 Canadian citizens, there are more than 35 firearms; this is well below America’s 100+ firearms for every hundred citizens but still positions Canada 7th in the world. Even though Canada has a high percentage of gun ownership, the laws and regulations surrounding firearms in Canada are strict. In Canada, even slight variations from the multitude of Acts, rules and regulations for firearms can result in a lengthy period of incarceration. In addition, individuals who are lawfully licensed (PAL) and entitled to possess a gun must be aware of a long list of different requirements for possessing, storing, transporting and selling them.
The trend for gun laws in Canada is more regulations, more prohibitions, and longer sentences. This is demonstrated by Canada’s recent ban on AR15s and other “black guns”. Therefore, it is vital to retain a criminal lawyer with experience defending gun charges.
In this case, X.X. was alleged to have been walking through a very public area of Calgary when a random citizen saw that X.X. had a handgun tucked into his waistband. This citizen immediately called the police and gave a description of X.X. and his location. The Calgary Police Service, like all Canadian police forces, take firearms offences very seriously and responded immediately.
When the police arrived on scene, the citizen directed them to the restaurant where X.X. was now located. The police detained X.X. and searched him; no gun was found. The police believed he hid the gun in a nearby exotic car. The police, to their credit, contacted the security companies from all of the nearby buildings to obtain CCTV security footage of the area. Through the footage, the police were able to track nearly all the movements of the person they believed to be X.X.
Using the footage, the police established that X.X. went from the restaurant to a vehicle and back to the restaurant. The police tracked down the car, which was parked in a nearby parkade. The police seized the car and ultimately obtained a warrant to search the vehicle.
An illegal firearm was found in the vehicle. With this evidence, the Calgary police service arrested and charged X.X. with a battery of criminal offences of unlawful possession, use, and transport of the firearm.
X.X. retained the legal services of Sean Fagan, who has a reputation for beating gun charges. Sean Fagan was successful at arranging for X.X. to turn himself in to the police and was further successful at securing bail on gun charges in a timely manner on very lenient conditions.
Securing bail on gun charges can be an uphill battle. This is because one of the considerations that the Judge must account for is whether a firearm was used in the commission of the offence (tertiary ground).
X.X. was in custody for less than an hour before Sean Fagan got him out. From there, X.X. retained Sean Fagan to defend this most serious drug prosecution.
Jail sentences for gun charges are typically calculated in the years, not months. For the offences that X.X. faced, he was looking at a likely 3-year period of incarceration.
Sean Fagan requested, obtained, and reviewed disclosure on this matter. No lawyer should give you an opinion on what you’re up against and what they can do about it until they have received full disclosure. An accused person has a Constitutional right to receive all the evidence that the police have to garner a defence at trial. It is essential to retain a lawyer who knows what full disclosure looks like. It is important to retain a lawyer who has experience defending and beating gun charges.
Not guilty pleas were entered, and a trial date was set. As is typical in the Alberta Court system, the trial date was scheduled for over a year down the road. The Court system is severely overburdened and delayed due to limited resources and the covid-19 court shutdowns.
Sean Fagan was successful at securing a stay of proceedings prior to trial. This means that this prosecution was over – no criminal record, no conviction, no jail sentence.