July 14, 2024

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N.S. prisoner gets time served for stashing pistol in van taking him to jail

A Dartmouth decide has sentenced a Digby County gentleman to time served and two years of probation for stashing a handgun inside a prisoner transport van that was carrying him to the Burnside jail. 

Sheriffs and RCMP officers both of those unsuccessful to discover the Sig Sauer P227 .45ACP caliber semi-computerized pistol, magazine and holster Raphael Lance Robicheau had with him in the van on Jan. 1, 2021. It was not right up until one more prisoner who was in the van tipped off guards about the gun immediately after arriving at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility that a research turned up the weapon. 

“While I have found that the gravity or seriousness of these offences is really substantial, I have also concluded that Mr. Robicheau’s moral blameworthiness or degree of obligation is somewhat attenuated by his steps to get rid of the bullets from the loaded, limited firearm and by virtue of the point that it could not be founded that he brought the firearm into the van on his man or woman,” Provincial court docket Choose Theodore Tax mentioned in a created decision launched Tuesday.  

“In people situations, I obtain that a just and suitable sanction for his possession of the firearm in the situation which have been proven beyond a realistic doubt, would be to get a sentence of imprisonment at the decreased stop of that 15-to-24-month assortment of sentence of imprisonment for these offences.” 

‘Just and appropriate’

Robicheau pleaded guilty to 6 firearms offences. 

The judge concluded that the “just and suitable sanction for the most significant of the offences” — possession of a restricted firearm with conveniently obtainable ammunition able of getting discharged without having owning a license for that firearm — would be 15 months in jail. 

“Therefore, when I think about Mr. Robicheau’s pre-sentence custody and enhanced custody credits, which equaled 455 times … which is roughly equal to slightly about 15 months in custody, I come across that his presence in court currently and people improved pre-sentence custody credits position him in a ‘time served’ problem with regard to the custodial sentence ordered by the court docket,” Tax explained.   

Each the Crown and Robicheau’s attorney agreed the court docket was not certain by the a few-yr obligatory least sentence stipulated in the Felony Code as it violates a segment of the Constitution of Legal rights and Freedoms that says all people has the correct not to be subjected to any cruel and abnormal treatment or punishment. 

‘Highly unusual’

“They are also both of those in arrangement, in building their sentencing submissions with regard to Mr. Robicheau that this is a ‘highly unusual’ situation,” Tax stated. 

The Crown needed Robicheau sentenced to 3 decades in prison. 

The 35-year-old’s defence law firm argued for time served and probation. 

“Defence counsel acknowledges that Mr. Robicheau did have possession of a handgun even though he was in the custody of the Deputy Sheriffs and becoming transferred to the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in a Sheriff’s van,” Tax explained. “However, in spite of those people ‘highly unusual’ conditions, he submits there was no indication that Mr. Robicheau ever supposed to use the firearm. In fact, both equally counsel have famous in their submissions that, on their assessment of the surveillance online video of the compartments at the back of the Sheriff’s van, Mr. Robicheau essentially removed the clip from the loaded handgun, then taken off the ammunition from the clip and placed it in a spot exactly where it was not commonly accessible.” 

Robicheau — who was sentenced orally just ahead of Xmas — had previously used the equivalent of 14½ months in custody right before he was sentenced, in a jail supplying minimal programming thanks to the pandemic, his attorney explained.  

Queries conducted  

Robicheau experienced just lately been arrested on New Year’s Day 2021 when sheriffs confirmed up at the Digby RCMP detachment to transportation him and an additional prisoner to Burnside to be remanded for the weekend. Mounties have claimed it is common practice to look for prisoners in advance of transport.  

“Mr. Robicheau was positioned in the compartment at the rear of the passenger side of the Sheriff’s van at about 2:18 p.m. on January 1, 2021,” Tax claimed. 

“After leaving Digby, the Deputy Sheriffs stopped at 2:55 p.m. at the Bridgetown RCMP detachment to conduct a search for contraband. At that spot, the Deputy Sheriffs conducted a ‘loose pat down search’ of the two men and women staying transported to the Burnside jail. Following that pat down search, at 3:01 p.m., Mr. Robicheau and the other specific ended up returned to the same compartments that they experienced before occupied, and the Deputy Sheriffs proceeded to the Burnside jail.” 

Just in excess of half an hour later on, surveillance video clip displays Robicheau “placing a black item in the indented room/door of the metallic wall separating the two compartments at the rear of the Sheriff’s van,” the decide claimed. 

“In addition, among 3:39 p.m. and 3:49 p.m., the video clip surveillance of Mr. Robicheau’s compartment showed him hunched about the vents at the bottom of the steel wall where by the ammunition was inevitably positioned. The video clip also confirmed him adjusting a black object in the indented room/door in the metal wall in between the two compartments at the rear of the Sheriff’s van.” 

The van arrived at the Burnside jail at 5:07 p.m. 

‘There was a handgun’

“Shortly soon after leaving the Burnside jail to return to Digby … the Deputy Sheriffs gained a call from a correctional officer at the jail. The Deputy Sheriffs have been educated that the other particular person who had been in the Sheriff’s van with Mr. Robicheau had encouraged them that there was a handgun in the compartment where Mr. Robicheau experienced been put. After acquiring that information and facts, the Deputy Sheriffs straight away stopped their van and conducted a research of the compartment exactly where Mr. Robicheau had been placed. They located a handgun in that indented place in the metal wall separating the two compartments,” claimed the decide. 

They located 10 bullets that would match in the pistol’s magazine “in the holes at the bottom of the metallic wall which divided the two compartments at the again of the Sheriff’s van.”  

Swabs taken from the handgun, and the holster for investigation matched Robicheau’s DNA, “but insufficient knowledge could be received to conduct a DNA evaluation of the cartridges,” Tax said. 

“Finally, though Mr. Robicheau experienced a non-restricted firearms licence, he experienced been put on a launch buy … on May perhaps 25, 2020, as various on July 27, 2020. The phrases and problems of that get prohibited him from possessing any firearms.” 

Pistol was stolen

Law enforcement later discovered the Sig Sauer as getting been stolen through a break and enter in Meteghan, in March of 2020.  

“The Crown conceded that they could not establish, outside of a realistic doubt that Mr. Robicheau realized or experienced any involvement in the crack and enter of the area from which the limited firearm was stolen,” explained the choose.  

Mounties had arrested Robicheau on Jan. 1, 2021, for breaking a curfew order. “An RCMP officer attended at his home to perform a curfew compliance test and determined that Mr. Robicheau was not in his residence as required at that time. While the officer was nonetheless on scene, Mr. Robicheau arrived at the house right after the selected curfew time and was right away arrested for breach of that curfew condition.” 

Spouse and children and good friends wrote letters of guidance for Robicheau, who lives in the Plymouth space. 

‘Good person’

“Mr. Robicheau’s mom indicated that she and her husband had elevated their son in a secure, pleased, and loving residence. Regrettably, her partner out of the blue and unexpectedly handed away when Mr. Robicheau was 10 several years old, and she famous that it experienced a profound outcome on him. On the other hand, she was considerably assisted in increasing Mr. Robicheau and his brother by their prolonged spouse and children who lived close by as well as lots of friends in the neighborhood. She indicated that her son is a ‘good person’ with the prospective to do perfectly.” 

The supervisor of Riverside Lobster Intercontinental Inc. “indicated that he has regarded Mr. Robicheau personally considering the fact that he was a younger boy as perfectly as an worker at his company. Despite the fact that, the plant supervisor did not indicate how extended Mr. Robicheau experienced worked at that business, he observed that the offender got along extremely nicely with his co-workers, contributed to the team component of the occupation and often did his career without having hesitation in a cheerful method.” 

Robicheau’s “confined prior legal record” consists of 4 counts of breaching launch ailments, and resisting a peace officer, stated the judge. He acquired time served for all those past year.  

On top rated of the time served and probation for the gun fees, Tax banned Robicheau from possessing any firearm for a decade.