Sentences handed down in Merritt shooting incident

In B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday, justice Dev Dley sentenced Michael Drynock to 21 months in jail and Kleon Pop to 29 months, less time served

One of two men found guilty of weapons charges stemming from a shooting incident in Merritt last yer is a free man, while a second man found guilty in same incident will be behind bars for another three months.

In B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday, justice Dev Dley sentenced Michael Drynock to 21 months in jail and Kleon Pop to 29 months, less time served.

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They also each received a year of probation.

Drynock and Pop were credited with 26 months in jail for time already served (calculated at 1.5 days per day spent behind bars awaiting trial), which means Drynock is no longer in custody.

Crown prosecutor Laura Drake sought 38 months in jail for Pop and 27 months for Drynock, while the defence argued for time already served in pre-trial custody and no probation.

In July, both men were convicted of possessing firearms while prohibited, but were acquitted of reckless and intentional discharging of a firearm into a residential street on the night of April 22, 2017, following an altercation with a group of men intent on fighting them.

Drynock, 22, was also convicted of assault and carrying a concealed knife with brass knuckles, while Pop, 30, was also found guilty of using an imitation firearm while uttering threats and possessing a concealed extendable baton.

During the trial, court heard that a man by the name of Alex Colins and four other males approached a house in the 2500-block of Coldwater Avenue, where Collins had been assaulted by Drynock and threatened at gunpoint by Pop earlier in the day at a party where all had been drinking. 

When they called out the two men from the street, the group was met by gunfire from the house.

The five men retreated, but were followed by Pop and Drynock to a field at Diamond Vale School, where the accused were eventually arrested by police.

Upon arrest, they were in possession of a rifle and shotgun. 

In her submissions, Drake noted the fact that shots were fired that night — despite Drynock and Pop having been acquitted of those charges — as an aggravating factor Dley should take into consideration when making his decision.

Dley said he could not take the shooting into consideration because he would indirectly be sentencing for an offence of which he found the defendants not guilt.

In rendering his verdict, Dley found that one of the two men fired the gun, but couldn’t determine beyond a reasonable doubt which one of them pulled the trigger.

During the trial, Collins testified he saw the barrel of a gun appear at the front door, but couldn’t see who was firing it.

Drake also argued both Drynock and Pop’s lengthy criminal records should factor into sentencing, noting Drynock had six prior weapons prohibitions and Pop’s manslaughter conviction from 2012.

In making their case for a lighter sentence, defence lawyers Richard and Alfred Kaiser cited their clients’ issues with alcohol, their difficult upbringings and their completion of various programs while incarcerated.

Dley returned his decision the same day as arguments were heard.

Under the terms of their probation, Drynock and Pop must remain 100 metres away from Collins and the four other men he was with the night of the incident. They also received lifetime bans on possessing firearms.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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