A 31-year-old man arrested near Burnaby’s Central Park with two loaded handguns, ammunition, cash, bear mace, a smoke grenade and a sword has been handed a four-year jail sentence.
Jesse Diamond Noel was charged with a number of offences, including possession of a loaded prohibited handgun without a licence and obstructing a police officer in relation to an incident on Nov. 19, 2016.
On the evening of Nov. 18, 2016, Burnaby RCMP responded to a call of a robbery with a handgun.
The suspect had fled, and police set up surveillance in the area.
At about 12:55 a.m. on Nov. 19, 2016, they spotted a 1997 Buick parked near Central Park with its headlights on and its engine idling.
Police determined the licence plate belonged to a vehicle registered in Noel’s name but that the Buick was not that vehicle.
Approaching with weapons drawn, they found Noel reclined in the driver’s seat. With him were three dogs, including a pitbull.
After first refusing to exit the vehicle, he eventually came out with one of the dogs.
He then paced a bit and suddenly sprinted away from the scene, but the officers caught and tackled him, and he was brought back to the scene.
A search of the vehicle revealed a loaded .45 calibre handgun with a round in the chamber in the glove box and a loaded .357 magnum revolver in the pocket of a jacket.
Police also found $1,720 in cash, a sword, mace and a smoke grenade.
Noel, who was under a firearms prohibition because of a 2012 North Vancouver robbery conviction at the time, pleaded guilty in September 2018 to five firearms charges.
The rest of the charges against him, including a charge of obstructing a police officer, were stayed.
Noel’s lawyer had recommended a three-year sentence. The Crown prosecutor argued for a sentence of four years and three months, saying Noel’s offences were serious and potentially very dangerous: he was in a residential area, actively taking drugs, paranoid that he was in danger and had two loaded firearms with more ammunition in the trunk.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gordon Weatherill agreed.
“Mr. Noel’s conduct in this case was serious and, quite simply, unacceptable,” he said in a sentencing ruling Thursday.
“In my view, there is no justification for him having been in possession of, not one, but two loaded handguns at the time of his arrest.”
Along with the jail sentence, Noel was handed a lifetime firearms ban.