30-month jail sentence for GTA man charged in 2019 firearm case

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THUNDER BAY — A southern Ontario man charged with firearm offences relating to an incident more than a year ago in the city was given a 30-month custodial sentence on Tuesday.

Travis Taseen, 24, of Toronto, appeared in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a prohibited firearm with ammunition and one count of possession of a firearm contrary to a prohibition order.

Judge Chantal Brochu accepted a joint submission for Taseen of 30 months of jail time.

Before being sentenced, the court heard how Taseen came to police attention on May 28, 2019, from assistant crown counsel Rob Kozak.

Police were dispatched to a laneway behind Heron Street after receiving calls from two individuals of two men involved in a fight. It was also reported to police one of the men involved had a small handgun in his possession.

A subsequent call was made by a witness who told police both men had gotten into a black car and drove off.

A few minutes later, police located the vehicle in a Tim Hortons drive-thru on May Street North where officers conducted a high-risk arrest of the occupants inside the vehicle.

The driver, Nikita Sharma and two passengers including Taseen and a male youth were all placed under arrest and taken into custody.

While arresting Taseen, a police officer located a live round of ammunition directly under his body after he was removed from the ground.

After all three individuals were taken into custody, a separate call came through to police by an individual who reported a handgun had been located outside their residence a short distance away from where the initial incident had taken place.

Officers attended and found a loaded handgun with a live round of ammunition in its chamber, court heard. At the time of his arrest, Taseen was under a weapons prohibition order from 2017.

Brochu described the sentence as being on the “low range” but considered several factors specific to Taseen’s case including the overcrowding jail conditions he's faced while in custody since his arrest in May 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taseen was given credit at an enhanced rate for pre-sentence custody of 882 days and has 28 days left to serve on his sentence.

Furthermore, he faces a lifetime firearm prohibition and is required to forfeit the handgun seized by police.

His co-accused, Sharma, had all charges against her dropped by the Crown.

Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source