Man who crashed through gates of Rideau Hall to threaten PM loses sentence appeal
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OTTAWA – The Ontario Court of Appeal has quashed a sentencing appeal in the case of a Manitoba man who stormed the gates of Rideau Hall in 2020 and sought an armed confrontation with the prime minister.
A decision dated Thursday says the six-year sentence handed to Corey Hurren in March 2021, less a year for the time he spent in custody before his sentencing, was “entirely fit.”
Hurren, a sausage-maker who served with the military’s Canadian Rangers, had pleaded guilty to seven weapons charges and one mischief charge for his actions on the morning of July 2, 2020.
He crashed his pickup truck through the gates of the Rideau Hall grounds, where both the governor general and prime minister live, and set out on foot with three loaded firearms and a knife before getting into a 90-minute standoff with RCMP officers.
Hurren, who was 46 at the time, told the officers he was there to arrest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and he was angry about COVID-19 restrictions and recent amendments to gun laws.
The Appeal Court said the sentencing judge was right in finding that Hurren’s crimes “cried out for denunciation in the strongest terms” and a sentence that would deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Hurren’s lawyer had argued that the sentencing judge did not pay enough attention to the mental-health issues that played into his motive for committing the offences.
But the appellate judges said there was no error in the way the sentencing judge weighed a psychologist’s diagnosis of Hurren in the sentencing decision.
Ultimately, that judge had found that Hurren’s political views were the bigger factor in his decision to arm himself and drive to Ottawa.
“The sentencing judge made no error in describing the appellant’s conduct as an ‘armed aggression against the government,'” Thursday’s decision reads.
“Whatever one’s political views, it is simply not acceptable in Canada to arm oneself with any type of weapon in order to express those views or dissatisfaction with the government. The appellant’s conduct not only posed mortal danger to both himself and others, but it also threatened Canadian values. An exemplary sentence was required.”
Hurren is to remain incarcerated for three more years. He also remains prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition or explosive substances for the rest of his life.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.