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

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Accident closes Highway 4 traffic at Taylor Flats rest area

Watch DriveBC for updates on road closures

Grade 12 graduates Jada Touchie, Timothy Masso and Brendan Brown are all smiles after receiving their Goodies for the Grads gift packs thanks to a small neighbourhood grant from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet Secondary School grads set to parade through town

Family and friends can cheer on the Class of 2021 this Saturday, June 19 at 4:30 p.m.

From left, Ahousaht First Nation Hereditary Chief Richard George presents a $10,000 cheque to Tofino Hatchery manager Doug Palfrey alongside Tyler Huebner of TCH Contracting The funds will go towards rebuilding Cypre river Chinook. (Carallyn Bowes photo)
Tofino Hatchery receives $10K donation

Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society tackling massive drop in Chinook salmon stocks

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

This rendering shows the potential layout for a 40-unit staff housing cooperative being proposed by the Pac Rim Home Development Cooperative in Ucluelet. (Image from www.prhdc.ca)
Pac Rim Cooperative pitches staff housing project in Ucluelet

“We’re looking at it as if it’s like a resort for employees”

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read