South Okanagan arsonist facing more time behind bars for weapons charges

Arsonist facing more time

A South Okanagan prolific offender already serving time tor arson will be spending many more years behind bars for an unrelated firearms charge.

Steven Marlo Gallagher, 31, appeared in Penticton Provincial Court Wednesday for sentencing for one of his criminal incidents.

He had previously been found guilty of possessing a firearm while banned, careless use or storage of a firearm, and occupying a vehicle knowing a firearm is present and possessing a prohibited or restricted firearm, all relating to a 2021 incident.

That incident saw Gallagher pitted against police on Green Mountain Road on April 4, 2021.

Court heard that Gallagher was part of a police chase on Green Mountain Road during which shots were allegedly fired and which culminated in Gallagher’s vehicle eventually came to a “screeching halt” before a spike belt that had been deployed.

Gallagher had weapons in the vehicle and open alcohol which he admitted to have been drinking.

Court heard that Gallagher has been subject to weapons-related prohibitions since 2013, when he was found guilty of similar offences following a fight with a domestic partner.

Gallagher is also facing weapons charges relating to a Canada Day shooting in Osoyoos in July 2022, and was recently sentenced to 45 months in jail for setting an Oliver pharmacy on fire in May 2021.

Judge Shannon Keyes sentenced Gallagher to 3.5 years behind bars for the various charges relating to the April 2021 incident.

"In recent years, Canadian courts have become increasingly concerned by the proliferation of handguns [and other firearms]," Keyes said.

"Most unlawful possession of loaded firearms represent nothing short of tragedy in gestation."

Keyes expressed her distrust that Gallagher feels any moral culpability for his actions, but acknowledged that his Indigenous heritage and how society and police treated him because of it may have played a role in his life choices.

Gallagher will serve this latest sentence after has completed his sentence for arson.

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