Crown seeks 6-year prison sentence for Corey Hurren, CAF member who stormed Rideau Hall gates

·4 min read
Corey Hurren listens during his sentencing hearing.
Corey Hurren listens during his sentencing hearing.

(Lauren Foster-MacLeod for CBC News - image credit)

Corey Hurren will have to wait a few weeks to hear his sentence for storming the gates of Rideau Hall with loaded firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition last summer.

Justice Robert Wadden heard submissions from both the Crown and defence today but said he is not in a position to deliver a decision today.

Wadden will deliver his decision March 10.

The Crown is seeking a six-year prison sentence, minus time served, and a lifetime firearm ban.

Crown attorney Meaghan Cunningham said the maximum penalty for some of the charges is 10 years. She said she's weighing Hurren's guilty plea and the fact that the only mark on his criminal history dates back to 1999 and is unrelated to the recent charges.

Hurren's lawyer Michael Davies is seeking a sentence of three years, less a year for his pre-trial custody.

Hurren, a 46-year-old reservist, pleaded guilty earlier this month to seven weapons-related charges, including possessing guns for "a purpose dangerous to the public peace."

Image from the Facebook page of Corey Hurren. Earlier this month, the Canadian Ranger pleaded guilty to seven weapons-related charges, including possessing guns for "a purpose dangerous to the public peace."
Image from the Facebook page of Corey Hurren. Earlier this month, the Canadian Ranger pleaded guilty to seven weapons-related charges, including possessing guns for "a purpose dangerous to the public peace."

He also pleaded guilty to one charge of mischief for wilfully causing $100,000 worth of damage to the Rideau Hall gate on July 2.

According to the agreed statement of facts read out in the courtroom after Hurren's plea, he wanted to arrest Trudeau over the federal government's COVID-19 restrictions and its ban on assault-style firearms.

He told officers that day that he wanted to make a statement to the prime minister by showing up during one of his daily media briefings. He said he hoped his actions would be a "wake-up call" and a "turning point."

In her submission, Cunningham said Hurren breached Canada's symbols of government and democracy to make a political statement.

"No responsible democracy can tolerate this," she said. "For this reason in my submission a significant penitentiary sentence is needed so this court can send a message of its own that those who place the lives of Canadians at risk by carrying loaded firearms into an expected confrontation to send a political message will pay a heavy price indeed."

Cunningham said that while there is no proof that Hurren wanted to shoot or kill Trudeau, his actions were "far from benign" since the events of the day could have ended in a shootout with police.

She also outlined how Hurren made deliberate decisions to arm himself with five firearms, multiple rounds and a knife before he drove across provincial lines to confront the prime minister, who was not home that day.

In his own submission, Davies urged the judge to stick to the charges and facts before him.

"Mr. Hurren ought to be sentenced for what he did. He's not here to fix the ails of a society," he countered.

'He put the guns down:' defence

Davies said that, as a Canadian Ranger and small business owner, Hurren contributed to society. He said his client's life began to unravel when he lost his job, and his plight was made worse by the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A doctor's report cited by both Crown and defence said that Hurren was suffering from deep depression at the time.

Davies said his client made a series of bad decisions in driving to Ottawa with an arsenal of guns, but said the judge should consider that Hurren made at least one good one.

"Ultimately, he made one correct decision — the decision to put those guns down," Davies told the court.

"I'm not here to say you should be congratulated on that decision ... but if he's to be held accountable for his decisions, and he should be, your honour also has to take into consideration that, ultimately, at the end of the day, he put the guns down."

Wadden gave Hurren an opportunity to address the court, but he declined.

The Manitoba resident originally faced 21 weapons charges and one of uttering threats against the prime minister.

Hurren had a five guns with him: a loaded Lakefield Mossberg shotgun, a loaded Grizzly Arms shotgun, a restricted Hi-Standard revolver, a prohibited M14 rifle and a prohibited International Arms break-open pistol with him