Vernon man to be sentenced for weapons charges

A Vernon man could spend another nine years in jail.

A Vernon man sentenced to nine years in jail back in 2016 for the possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, may spend up to another nine years behind bars.

Ronald Charles Learning was arrested in October 2011 in Salmon Arm as the result of a lengthy police investigation into the transportation of cocaine from California into Canada via the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border near the town of Val Marie, Sask.

The 34-year-old is currently serving his time in Saskatchewan.

However now, Learning is back in B.C. being sentenced on more than 20 firearm offences related to an arrest in January 2013 that started with a seizure of a large amount of heroin at the Vancouver Airport.

On Jan. 13, 2015, a search warrant was executed at a Vernon residence where four loaded handguns, more than $10,000 in cash and various types and amounts of both prescription and non-prescription drugs were seized.

While Learning is serving time in Saskatchewan, the weapons offences are his first criminal offence in B.C.

Justice Weatherill listened to both the defence and Crown’s submissions, Tuesday morning in a Supreme Court room, before he is to make his decision on Wednesday regarding the length of Learning’s prison sentence.

Weatherill told the court he believes that Learning absolutely knew the contents of the box he picked up at the Vancouver Airport back in 2013, and that Learning was apart of a mid-to-high level criminal organization.

The Crown is asking for seven to nine years on top of the already nine years Learning is currently serving.

The defence claims that another nine years on top of the nine years Learning is already serving is a harsh sentence for a 34-year-old with no criminal record in this province.

Weatherill must now consider the court case and sentencing for Learning out of Saskatchewan as well as the weapons charges before deciding if he should give the Vernon resident a congruent or consecutive sentence.

The Supreme Court judge said he will look at the totality principle — which requires the court to craft a global sentence of all offences that is not excessive.

The sentencing hearing will resume Wednesday.n

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