A Lower Mainland man will be serving jail time in relation to a shooting at an illegal grow-op more than four years ago in the South Cariboo.
Found guilty by a jury last year, Nicholas Finley, 50, was sentenced Dec. 18 in Williams Lake Supreme Court to five years jail for unlawfully discharging a firearm and discharging a firearm with intent to wound and or disfigure. He will also concurrently serve two years imprisonment for aggravated assault.
Justice Marguerite Church said Finley’s jail time will amount to approximately four and a half years after credit for time served in pre-sentence custody.
In 2016, 100 Mile RCMP received a report of a 42-year old local man shot in the arm on March 6.
Finley was arrested a number of days later, and spent 82 days in pre-sentence custody prior to obtaining bail.
The court heard how the victim, Mark Cooper, was locking the door to a remote rural property near Lone Butte after spending approximately an hour watering an illegal marijuana grow-op.
As he was facing the door, Church said he was shot from behind through the back of his right arm, and saw Finley standing a short distance away with a rifle.
Both men had known each other for more than 20 years and had been caretakers of the illegal operation.
“There was a dispute as to who would continue to be caretaker of the operation into the future,” Church said in a statement of facts, noting Finley lived at the property and believed he was the appointed caretaker, while the victim meanwhile believed the owner had appointed him.
As Cooper bled from the wound in his arm, he got into his truck to leave the property. As he was driving, he observed Finley bring the gun up to his direction and, after ducking down, heard a shot hit the vehicle and come through the windshield.
Finley was arrested days later in Mission.
Church said the victim would likely have permanent disabilities due to the injury in which he was transported to hospital where he spent 10 days and received a skin graft.
After being released on bail, Finley lived with his brother in the Lower Mainland. At the time of his sentencing hearing he was employed as a pipefitter welder and enrolled in Class 1 driving lessons that he expected to complete sometime in early November.
Crown counsel was seeking imprisonment of seven to eight years for Finley whom it described as leading an ‘unremarkable’ life.
Church said she, however, agreed with the defence submission that, a sentence lower than Crown’s proposal would still “sufficiently denounce Finley’s conduct and deter him and others from committing these types of offences.”
Finley also received a mandatory firearms prohibition.
Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune