Former Snowbirds technician pleads guilty to firearms offences

Former Snowbird pleads

A former technician with the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron — the Snowbirds — will spend nearly two years on probation after pleading guilty to several firearms-related offences.

Former corporal Rhys Paradis appeared in Moose Jaw Provincial Court recently and pleaded guilty to unauthorized possession of a firearm and unauthorized possession of a prohibited or restricted weapon (parts for a Glock handgun and oversized magazine clips).

The Crown stayed two other charges against him.

The judge gave Paradis, 32, a conditional discharge, which means he will not have a criminal record if he completes 18 months of probation without incident.

During that probation — which Crown prosecutor Rob Parker described as “stringent” — Paradis will have a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the first six months and must complete 80 hours of community service within those months.

Furthermore, he is prohibited from having any restricted or prohibited firearms, ammunition or weapons for 10 years; must submit to a search of his person, vehicle or home by a peace officer without a warrant; and must forfeit all the weapons police confiscated from his home.

Police cannot search his home more than twice in one month; the firearms officers confiscated were long guns since Paradis is a long-range target shooter. The value of those firearms was $25,000.

The offences occurred from Nov. 3 to 10, 2021, after the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) intercepted packages destined for Paradis’ home in Bushell Park at 15 Wing Air Base, explained Parker. CBSA officers found parts to make working firearms, which prompted them to contact law enforcement, who then acquired a search warrant.

On Dec. 10, 2021, the RCMP Crime Reduction Team (CRT) searched Paradis’ home with the assistance of Moose Jaw RCMP, Saskatchewan RCMP’s National Weapons Enforcement Team, and the Moose Jaw Police Service.

Officers seized gun parts and two over-capacity magazines, along with the firearms, which were legally obtained.

“From the Crown’s perspective, it was an unusual sentence to agree to a conditional discharge,” said Parker. “The court was told Mr. Paradis had no criminal record … (and was) otherwise a law-abiding citizen.”

The Crown takes these charges seriously but wanted to allow Paradis the opportunity to pursue probation and finish without a criminal record, the Crown prosecutor added. However, the former Snowbirds technician is paying “a very significant price” for that with the six-month curfew and the financial cost of forfeiting the weapons.

According to previous information, Paradis was a 13-year veteran of the Canadian Forces who began his military career in the army as a weapons technician in 2008. He switched to the air force in 2015 as an aircraft structures technician.

Paradis was posted to the Snowbirds in 2017 and completed his trade apprenticeship at CFB Moose Jaw.

He was listed on the Snowbirds team page as the Lead Aircraft Structures Technician; however, he is no longer with the military.

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