Princeton man headed to jail for shooting himself in the leg

A Princeton man is remaining in jail for another 14 months after shooting himself in the leg with a restricted firearm.

A Princeton man is remaining in jail for another 14 months after shooting himself in the leg with a restricted firearm.

Jesse Lawrence Williams, 32, was found guilty in October 2015 of careless use of a firearm, possessing a loaded and prohibited firearm without authorization and breaching a firearms prohibition.

Crown sought a sentence in the range of three to four years, while Williams’ defence, James Pennington, suggested a two-year sentence.

Williams accidentally shot himself in the leg with a sawed-off shotgun on April 26, 2015.

At trial, Williams said that he was the victim of a armed break and enter and was shot by an unknown assailant. When police arrived, they found him suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper thigh. Police located a sawed-off gun a few feet away from where Williams was found.

At the time of the offence Williams said that he had found the sawed-off gun in his back yard, threw it over his shoulder and the strap caught the trigger discharging it into his leg. He later testified at trial that he lied to police about how the shooting went down, instead insisting that a masked intruder entered his residence and shot him after a struggle, leaving the gun behind.

However, while being treated at the hospital after the incident, Williams told police that he had purchased the gun from a Princeton man.

He claimed at trial that he lied to protect himself and his family from the unknown man, something Koturbash did not find credible when he handed down his decision.

“Illegal guns like sawed-off shotguns serve only one purpose, to kill other human beings. This type of weapon serves no other lawful purpose,” Koturbash said Tuesday at Williams’ sentencing hearing in Penticton Provincial Court.

Koturbash also addressed the allegation Williams put forward that he had been assaulted while in custody. Williams has been in custody since the date of his arrest and alleged that he was beaten by another inmate resulting in a broken nose, cracked orbital bone and a suspected broken jaw.

When he sustained the injuries he told corrections staff that he fell off the top bunk. His story then changed to getting assaulted, court heard.

“The Crown disputes this fact and the onus Mr. Williams to prove it on a balance of probabilities. I’m not satisfied that he accomplished that,” Koturbash said.

Koturbash was also not satisfied that Williams’ received substandard medical care while in custody for similar reasons.

Williams was sentenced to three years jail time, which with pre-trial credit and time served has just over 14 months remaining.

“A sawed-off shotgun is an insidious type of firearm that has caused death, grief and loss in our community. The possession of this type of firearm is a true crime,” Koturbash said. “But for the fact that Mr. Williams suffered a serious, permanent injury to his leg as a direct result of possession of the firearm, the sentence that I would have imposed would have been higher.”



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