It was April 2012 when police searched a Surrey apartment and found ammunition and 14 firearms – including pistols, rifles and an Uzi sub-machine gun – inside a living room ottoman.
Dean Wiwchar and Phillip Juan Ley, who lived elsewhere but were the only occupants of the apartment, were both charged with numerous firearms offences. Ley pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of firearms and was sentenced.
Wiwchar, 30, was convicted in June on nine counts and was sentenced earlier this week (Sept. 21) in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
The restricted firearms found in the Surrey apartment included: a Sig Sauer, Colt, Ruger and Norinco pistol and a .44 Magnum handgun. the prohibited firearms included: an H & K semi-automatic pistol, a .38 calibre pistol, an Uzi sub-machine gun, a Romanian rifle, and a Taurus pistol.
Police also found two more firearms in his Vancouver apartment a month later.
In the Sept. 21 sentencing decision, Justice Gregory Bowden called the weapons offences “grave,” ruling Wiwchar should spend 10 years in jail.
“The fact that the Surrey apartment was a safe-house together with the suspicious activity of Mr. Wiwchar in coming to and going from that apartment strongly suggests an aura of criminality around the possession of the firearms at that location,” said Bowden. “At his Vancouver residence, Mr. Wiwchar had a loaded restricted handgun readily available in his bedroom closet.”
Crown had recommended a 13- to 15-year sentence for the firearms convictions, while Wiwchar’s lawyer suggested seven years was appropriate.
Wiwchar is currently in custody, accused in a 2012 murder in Ontario for which he’s scheduled to be tried next year.
The court documents indicate Wiwchar is originally from Ontario and has a lengthy criminal record that began when he was a youth. His past convictions include several of aggravated assault, robbery, assaulting peace officers, assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.
A five-and-a-half month period between January and June 2012 was the only stretch of freedom in his adult life, says the court papers, during which he committed the firearms offences.
Wiwchar is already subject to a lifetime firearms prohibition in connection with an aggravated assault he committed while in custody.