Court imposes 10 years for firearm

No exceptional circumstance found

A man found guilty of possessing an unlicensed firearm received the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment on Tuesday.

After receiving psychological and psychiatric evaluations, Justice Marlene Carter said she found no exceptional circumstance that would reduce the sentence for Rueben Hesmer Hydes, now 35.

Mr. Hydes was charged after police searched his room in an apartment he shared with others in Windsor Park on Nov. 15, 2016. The officers found a High-Point Model JCP handgun and eight rounds of .40 ammunition stored with his underwear in a chest of drawers in his bedroom.

When interviewed by police, he declined to have an attorney present and he admitted possession of the illegal firearm. Later, however, he indicated that he did not understand the seriousness of the situation. He said he made the admissions because he thought his girlfriend would be held and charged if he did not do so.

Evidence at his trial included a mixed DNA profile found on the trigger of the handgun that was not inconsistent with his DNA.

After trial by judge alone, Mr. Hydes was found guilty in March this year.

Defense attorney Nicholas Dixey asked for pre-sentencing reports to address the question of how onerous Mr. Hydes was likely to find a lengthy prison sentence as compared with other individuals, and the likely effect on his physical and mental health.

In their submissions last month, Mr. Dixey and Crown counsel Scott Wainwright, who prosecuted the matter, discussed previous cases in which the psychological profile of a defendant was an issue.

The court received reports from both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Based on these, Mr. Dixey submitted that a lengthy period of imprisonment would be more onerous and detrimental to Mr. Hydes’ mental and psychological health than it would be to other people.

Justice Carter pointed to the need for a deterrent sentence and, in this case, said she did not find any exceptional circumstance that would reduce the sentence of 10 years as set in the Firearms Law.

Later on Tuesday, Mr. Hydes pleaded guilty to possession of a quantity of cocaine found in his room when the firearm was found. However, he pleaded not guilty to possession of the drug with intent to supply.

Magistrate Valdis Foldats asked Crown counsel Garcia Kelly to have the matter reviewed. The particulars of the charge do not include any mention of the quantity of drug alleged.

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