December 7, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
A Winnipeg man will be spending 13.5 more months in jail after he pleaded guilty this afternoon to storing a cache of weapons, ammunition and body armour.
Lawrence Courchene, 41, pleaded guilty to possessing bullet-proof body armour without a permit, possessing a stolen, sawed-off rifle, and more than 600 rounds of assorted ammunition.
Court was told that Winnipeg police had Courchene under surveillance after receiving tips last summer that he was storing weapons in his Cathedral Avenue home.
Courchene was first arrested June 12, 2012 when police searched his home and found the body armour. He was released on bail, with conditions that included a prohibition on possessing weapons.
Police received a second tip at the end of September and another search of his home turned up the sawed-off Browning .300 lever-action rifle and 618 rounds of assorted ammunition, including 32 rounds of 9 mm Luger hollow-points, 247 rounds of 9 mm Luger, 310 rounds of .22 long rifle, and 29 rounds of .38-caliber bullets designed for the RCMP.
The penalty for possessing a stolen weapon is a minimum of a one-year sentence but that minimum jumps to three years if ammunition is included. However, none of the ammunition found in Courchene’s home fit the stolen rifle, so the higher minimum doesn’t apply.
Courchene told the court he had no excuse or explanation for the cache of ammunition and the stolen weapons.
Provincial Court Judge Tim Preston said Courchene had "thumbed his nose" at the court when he was found with the stolen rifle and ammunition after being released on bail.
Courchene had an assault conviction from 2005 that included a 10-year prohibition on possessing weapons.
Preston sentenced Courchene to a total of 20 months, but gave him credit for the 6.5 months he had served while awaiting trial, leaving him to serve an additional 13.5 months.