NANAIMO — What appeared to be a standard traffic stop in Errington resulted in a lengthy jail sentence for a man with a long criminal history.
Gary Kenneth Mills, 63, was handed six years behind bars after a loaded handgun was found under the seat of his truck on March 30, 2018. Mills, who was prohibited from driving and possessing weapons at the time, will serve another four years and six months behind bars due to credit for time served.
Mills was convicted by a BC Supreme Court jury last December and sentenced by Justice Elaine Adair Monday afternoon.
Court was told Mills lied to the Oceanside RCMP officer about his identity at the intersection of Grafton Ave. and Leffler Rd. in Errington.
Crystal meth and alcohol was found in Mills' truck, but he was not under the influence at the time.
Crown prosecutor Nick Barber argued Mills possessing a loaded handgun in his truck within arm’s reach presented a danger to a wide range of the public. Barber cited the offender's criminal record as a key aggravating factor.
Defence lawyer Tom Morino lobbied for 36 to 40 months in jail.
Justice Adair said the criminal record of Mills, the fact he hasn't been deterred from previous sentences and disobeying a lifetime firearms ban were key aggravating factors.
“Mr. Mills' conduct in my view cannot reasonably be described at the bottom end of the true crime spectrum, but falls at the very least within the mid range of that spectrum. A significant period of incarceration is justified," Justice Adair said.
Mills already served 90 days in jail for obstruction, drug possession and driving while prohibited in relation to the Errington traffic stop.
A dejected Mills slumped into the prisoner's box after learning his sentence. Family and friends gasped when the ruling was read out.
Mills has been held at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre in Victoria since June 1, 2018.
He has a lengthy criminal record dating back decades for primarily violence, drugs and weapons related offences.
Mills was ordered to relinquish his truck and gun as part of a forfeiture order.
On Twitter: @reporterholmes
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