A 28-year-old man caught with an assault-style rifle without a licence and an illegal, overcapacity magazine during a domestic disturbance call has been handed a two-year conditional sentence order and one year of probation.
Anthony Isaac Vipond pleaded guilty in Vancouver provincial court on Friday to possession of a firearm without a licence and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
The charges date back to an incident at a Capitol Drive apartment building on March 24, according to an agreed statement of facts presented by Crown prosecutor Karen Haughton.
A neighbour had called police at about 9 p.m. that evening to report a domestic disturbance, she said.
At the scene, officers heard a row inside one of the units and knocked.
“A male in an angry voice stated to the police, ‘F*** off, you f***ing pigs. You’re not coming in, you f***ing pigs; I know my rights,’” Haughton said.
The officers eventually broke down the door and arrested Vipond.
During a clearing search of the apartment, police spotted the butt of a rifle sticking out from under a mattress in the bedroom.
It turned out to be an SKS assault-style rifle with an illegal, over-capacity magazine attached and 18 rounds of ammunition inside, according to Haughton.
One round was located in the handle of the gun, and the action locked back in the open position “ready to chamber a round for firing,” she said.
Police also found a “female individual” hiding in the box spring of the bed.
Vipond was originally charged with five different weapons offences.
In a joint sentencing submission Friday, Haughton and defence lawyer Olivia Whynot called for a two-year conditional sentence in the case, including one year of house arrest and one year with a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, followed by another year of probation.
Haughton also called for a 10-year firearms ban and for the SKS to be forfeited to the court.
As aggravating factors, she noted Vipond had been convicted in 2017 of uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
“Also aggravating is the overcapacity magazine and the circumstances that drew Mr. Vipond to the police’s attention (in March),” Haughton said.
Vipond was released on bail in April and has been living in an addiction recovery facility since then.
Both Haughton and Whynot noted his progress there.
Whynot said Vipond was now in “very different circumstances” from the time of the offences.
“He has been working extremely hard on his rehabilitation and has a bright future ahead of him,” she said.
Whynot said her client had been addicted to drugs since age 17 after suffering abuse as a child.
He had also recently been diagnosed with bipolar but only started taking medication regularly after his arrest, according to Whynot.
She said Vipond hopes to become a role model for his two daughters, aged nine and 10.
The court was presented with multiple reference letters from addictions treatment staff, a bail supervisor, a personal friend and a prospective employer who had worked with Vipond.
B.C. provincial court Judge James Bahen accepted the joint submission, saying Vipond’s current circumstances “amply” supported the decision to allow him to serve his sentence in the community.
“He’s genuinely motivated in his rehabilitation,” Bahen said. “To place him in jail now would be a counterproductive step. It would likely imperil his recovery.”
Bahen handed Vipond the two-year conditional sentence, one year of probation, a 10-year firearms ban and a forfeiture order for the rifle.
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