Two people accused of taking part in a 2018 break-and-enter at a Valleyview motel, after which police seized three guns, have been found not guilty.
Steven Gardner and Sharon Hartling were acquitted on July 21, in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops. Their trial, which began the previous day, had been slated to last two weeks.
The Crown wrapped up its case unexpectedly on Tuesday, leading to the acquittals. Gardner had been charged with break and enter, as well as four firearms charges, while Hartling was facing one count of break and enter and two weapons charges relating to knives.
Police were called to unit 17 at the Tournament Inn, 1893 Trans-Canada Hwy. E., at about 11 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2018.
Four people were found inside the suite, including Gardner and Hartling. Three guns — a Beretta handgun, a sawed-off shotgun and a second shotgun with an altered serial number — were seized, all of which were alleged to have been in Gardner’s possession.
Tournament Inn resident Darryl Kerr, who lived in unit 17, said he was attacked from behind, but did not see who hit him.
During the trial’s first day, Crown prosecutor Frank Caputo said police arriving at the motel looked through a window and saw someone hiding “something long” — alleged to be a gun — under a mattress.
“The police lifted up the mattress and found three firearms, two of which were restricted or prohibited,” Caputo said. “These firearms, particularly the two restricted or prohibited firearms, were loaded or had readily accessibly ammunition.”