Source: Vancouver Sun
A former member of the Langford Savages biker gang has been sentenced to almost three years in jail for carrying a loaded firearm to protect himself from his former brethren.
Lyle Scott Briscoe’s lawyer told B.C. provincial court that his client possessed the stolen semi-automatic pistol in October 2018 because he had been threatened and shot after quitting the Hells Angels’ support club.
“At its inception, the Savages were simply a social and recreational club. As time passed, the Savages began to engage in organized criminal activity and became associated with the Hells Angels, with whom they engaged in joint criminal enterprises. Mr. Briscoe was opposed to such endeavours and sought to disassociate himself from the Savages,” Judge Ted Gouge summarized in his ruling, released Thursday.
“The Savages did not accede to his withdrawal and launched a number of violent assaults against Mr. Briscoe and his parents. They shot at Mr. Briscoe on three separate occasions. One of the bullets struck Mr. Briscoe. They also shot at his mother and launched an armed invasion of the home of his father.”
While Briscoe said he was carrying the firearm to defend himself against future attacks by the Savages, Gouge said his conduct put the public at risk.
“He had been thrice shot at by them in the recent past, and intended to respond in kind on the next occasion. That was likely to be in a public place. The risk to the safety of innocent members of the public is manifest,” Gouge said.
“The sentence which I impose should serve to impress upon Mr. Briscoe, and other like-minded citizens, that there is no ‘stand-your-ground’ law in Canada, and that unauthorized possession of prohibited weapons, even for the purpose of self-defence, is a serious offence which will result in a meaningful jail sentence.”
Briscoe had no previous record and pleaded guilty to the charge — both mitigating factors, Gouge said, in handing down a 1,080-day term minus 62 days’ credit for pretrial custody.
Briscoe, 32, was stopped at a police roadblock on Oct. 26, 2018. Officers noticed his vehicle registration had expired. He told them he had current papers in the rear of the vehicle and wanted to retrieve them.
As he got out of the car “one of the officers saw a bulge in Mr. Briscoe’s clothing near the waistline,” the ruling said. “He asked Mr. Briscoe what the bulge was and Mr. Briscoe replied, `A firearm.’ Mr. Briscoe was arrested and searched.”
The .25-calibre pistol had seven rounds in the magazine and had been reported stolen in 2010. Gouge said that it was a prohibited firearm and that Briscoe had no licence to possess it. He was also found with a small amount of cocaine.
Briscoe’s lawyer, Cheyne Hodson, argued that a 30-month sentence would be appropriate, while Crown prosecutor Paul Cheeseman said a 36-month term was warranted.
Gouge said that “the sentence of 36 months, sought by the Crown, is a fit sentence for (Briscoe’s) offence. If the Crown had sought a longer sentence, I would have been favourably inclined to that submission.”
“I conclude that Mr. Briscoe’s offence was more egregious than the simple possession of a prohibited firearm,” Gouge said.
B.C.’s anti-gang police first noticed the Savages in 2017 after the bikers took over a clubhouse in a Langford industrial building once used by the Devil’s Army, another Vancouver Island support club of the Hells Angels.
Since then, the Savages have regularly appeared at Hells Angels memorial motorcycle rides, anniversary parties and funerals.
Police say the support clubs allow the Hells Angels to maintain their distance from criminal activity.