No discharge for gun crimes

A man who attempted to enter the country with firearms has been denied a request for discharge.

Marion Furman Taylor Jr.'s defence said his attempt to cross the border with three pistols – two of which are prohibited and the other restricted in Canada – was an honest mistake, followed by a foolish decision to lie to border patrol officers.

Taylor's defence attorney, Nelson Selamaj, argued that the South Carolina man's guns were left in his tractor trailer by accident, and only remembered upon approaching the border, leading to a panicked false statement to border patrol.

In the truck, which was transporting canoes and kayaks, a Berretta pistol and two Smith & Wesson pistols were found, including a revolver, as well as four high-capacity magazines, three cannisters of mace, two of pepper spray and a switchblade.

Taylor's defence argued that he kept the firearms on him for the sake of self defence, that all of them were purchased legally, and were a non-issue in the states he often worked in.

Selamaj argued that Taylor relied on his truck-driving work to live, as well as to pay for outstanding medical bills and to help his mother with medical bills. Taylor also had to pay $7,000 to release his truck from CBSA custody.

He said delivery trips to Canada paid better than domestic shipping trips, and noted he was afraid a conviction on gun charges would lead to cancellation of his lease with the delivery company, ultimately meaning a loss of his job.

Taylor faced 10 charges altogether, but a deal between Crown and defence lead to a guilty plea to a count of false statements at the border, one count of a restricted or prohibited firearms charge and one count of non-firearm weapons charge.

Crown called for a $7,500 fine for the three charges, but Selamaj asked for a discharge, which would negate any criminal offence, allowing Taylor to continue to travel between the countries.

Since the charges were laid, Taylor said he had crossed into Canada four or five times without incident, but Judge Meg Shaw was unforgiving of Taylor's missteps, noting the severity of gun charges in Canada.

To consider a discharge, three conditions must be met, but Shaw only visited two – whether it is in the offender's best interests, and whether it is in the public interest.

While she agreed that it would be best for Taylor to continue to work between the two countries, she emphasized the need to deter similar crimes from happening again, and ultimately agreed to a $7,500 fine.

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