Eaton Rugby man unswayed in his beliefs
By Garett Williams
Friday December 07, 2007
After less than a day of deliberations, the jury returned a guilty verdict
Thursday on 26 of more than 50 firearms related charges faced by Bruce
Montague sat in the defendant's chair holding his 16-year-old daughter's
hand over his shoulder as the foreman read the verdicts. His sister sat
behind him, rocking back and forth, with a tissue to her eye.
Donna Montague was found guilty on one of the three charges she faced. She
was holding her husband's hand and shaking as the decisions were read.
Crown attorney Peter Keen said he's not looking for a jail sentence for
Donna Montague. Bruce Montague was remanded out of custody and must adhere
to the existing conditions of his release until he is sentenced on March 17,
after a pre-sentence report has been completed by a probation officer.
The trial stems back to 2004 when Bruce Montague was arrested at a Dryden
gun show. He was held in custody for more than 10 days, until he revealed
the location of a hidden room, which he called a secure vault, in his
basement, where the guns related to most of the charges were found.
Montague faced 53 weapons related charges, including the unauthorized
possession and careless storage of non-restricted firearms, explosives and
restricted firearms. His wife, Donna, faced a charge of unauthorized
possession of a firearm and two counts of careless storage of a firearm.
Six of the charges were given a directed verdict of not guilty by Justice
John Wright, with consent from Keen, after the Crown failed to present
evidence relating to the charges.
The Montagues have been outspoken against the Firearms Act for years,
touring from province to province trying to get arrested, so the law could
be challenged in court.
In the time since he was arrested, Bruce Montague has entered into two
constitutional challenges against the Firearms Act. The first one ended
abruptly when he fired his lawyer, Calvin Martin.
He reloaded with a new lawyer, Doug Christie, and returned to a Kenora
Superior courtroom in October to continue his challenge. He aimed to strike
out sections of the Criminal Code of Canada related to the act, to have
their criminal charges dismissed and to have the Firearms Act declared
unconstitutional. The challenge was dismissed by Wright.
"I am unswayed in my beliefs and my opinions," Montague said when the ruling
was handed down. "This is something I am doing on a principled stand. I've
been doing it well in advance of my charges, I've been doing it after my
charges and I will continue to do it, even out of prison if need be."
Bruce Montague was found guilty Thursday on 26 charges including possession
without a licence, obliterating serial numbers, having readily accessible
ammunition, alterations to automatic weapons and building a silencer.
He was found not guilty on all charges relating to being a danger to the
public peace and selling firearms knowing the person is not authorized to
transfer it under the Firearms Act.
Six charges were given a directed verdict of not guilty including careless
storage, three dealing with a loaded gun and another for an explosive
substance not reasonably stored.
Donna Montague was found guilty of one of three charges -- possession
without a licence and acquitted of careless storage charges.
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