A man who was wearing a mask when he barged into Surrey's South Point Pub with a pistol early New Year's Day, 2012, has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Robbie Lee Morris pleaded guilty to possessing a loaded, restricted gun without a licence. Justice Robert Crawford sentenced him in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Two staff members - a man and woman - were cleaning up when Morris entered the pub. The woman's boyfriend was there too. Crawford noted the boyfriend "promptly threw himself" at Morris and "a donnybrook ensued where Mr. Morris got far the worst of it."
Morris fired off two shots while being punched, gouged in his eye and whacked over the head with a bar stool, but nobody was hit by the bullets.
A stream of blood marked Morris's path as he ran from the pub, out the door to a nearby fence. A DNA test revealed his profile was in the federal databank.
He was arrested on June 14, 2012.
Crawford noted that Morris had, with his family's support, "somewhat righted his ship" since the New Year's incident, finding work on the waterfront and using methadone to wean him off his heroin addiction.
The judge found Morris had shown remorse, apologizing to his victims, and noted that his family stands by him. "He is a strong man, not lacking intelligence, and he still has time to right his life ship," Crawford said.
Still, he added, "I do not close my mind to the fact that two shots were fired and something far more terrible could have occurred."
Crawford shaved one year off Morris's four-year sentence for time already served, making for a three-year sentence.
Before committing this crime, Morris already had a criminal record, including four convictions in 2002. The most serious of those earned him a five-year sentence for robbery. He was convicted of robbery again in November 2009.
Crawford noted Canada has a "very restrictive view" on guns.
"One of the signal differences between this country and that to the south of the 49th parallel is a different attitude about guns, and all too unhappily we are being faced with the reality that people acquired rights to carry guns in the 1700s and seem to somehow grafted that into a present circumstance where they can use military weapons which of course get into the wrong people and cause devastation," he remarked.
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