Stephen Pawlak was sentenced in Courtenay on Tuesday, April 27. File photo

Stephen Pawlak was sentenced in Courtenay on Tuesday, April 27. File photo

Four years for armed man removed from Island store washroom with a flash grenade

Stephen Pawlak already had lifetime firearms bans for previous offences

An armed man flushed out of a Black Creek public washroom by police with a flash grenade in 2019 has been ordered to spend the next two years in jail.

Stephen Charles Pawlak, 44, of Campbell River was given a four-year sentence in provincial court in Courtenay Tuesday for weapons charges, but with credit for time in custody, this brought the net time down to two years less a day.

Pawlak was arrested in October 2019 after an altercation at the Black Creek General Store where, carrying a pistol, he pulled in to use the washroom.

Pawlak tried to block the door, and police waited five minutes and ultimately used a flash grenade to take him into custody.

RCMP had been following him after receiving information from a retired police officer that Pawlak had mentioned shooting an RCMP officer in the face if the officer approached him. The witness was concerned Pawlak was in an agitated state and reported it to police. The witness’s initial interaction with Pawlak over the weapon had taken place a couple of weeks before.

“Mr. Pawlak had the gun for a minimum of two weeks,” Judge Brian Hutcheson said, adding there was no evidence the accused had any intent to dispose of the gun, a .38-calibre pistol.

RELATED STORY: RCMP Emergency Response Team arrest man at Black Creek General Store

Initially, Pawlak was charged with uttering threats, along with seven other charges, mostly weapons related. Last October, he pleaded guilty to two of the eight charges: one for the firearm and ammunition and a second for possession contrary to a court order. The other charges were stayed.

In court Tuesday, Hutcheson considered mitigating factors such as Pawlak’s difficult upbringing, which included abuse, substance abuse and his pleas to the two charges. A pre-sentence report outlined challenges for him, but also included comments from a couple of corrections officers that his behaviour in custody has improved as he has gotten older.

As aggravating factors, the judge had to consider principles such as denunciation of firearms as well as Pawlak’s record of nearly 50 offences, including five robberies, break-ins, assaults and previous lifetime firearms bans.

Hutcheson’s decision for a four-year sentence fell midway between what Crown and defence counsel considered appropriate. What followed was a sometimes convoluted math exercise between the judge and the lawyers that came down to a matter of days.

In the end, all sides agreed for the sum of two years less a day, which was in line with Pawlak’s wish for provincial rather federal time. The count for breaching the firearm ban also got a one-year concurrent sentence.

Pawlak’s sentence also includes a DNA order, a firearms ban and a probation order for two years that consists of a non-contact order with a witness.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Just Posted

A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)
‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of two shot by police in critical condition says Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

Condemned building of the Twin Gables Motel in Crofton is not safe and yet a teen has been climbing around on the roof while others were ripping the siding off the building. (Photo submitted)
Destructive behaviour by teens wreaking havoc on Crofton

Residents becoming fed up with the constant vandalism and fires

A fire destroyed a commercial building on Idlemore Road early Tuesday. The fire is under investigation. (Kenn Mount photo)
Early morning fire destroys new Sooke distillery

Firefighters still investigating cause of Island Shiners Distillery blaze early Tuesday

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Experts now predict 33.6% rise in B.C. home sales for 2021

BCREA economists also predict home prices to increase by 14.3%

A boat caught on fire this morning (May 11) in Port Hardy. (Adam Harding/Port Hardy Fire Rescue Facebook photo)
Fishing boat catches fire in Port Hardy, owner’s quick thinking puts out flames

The incident is a good reminder to always have a working fire extinguisher onboard your boat

Most Read