A Chilliwack man who "conscripted" a 17-year-old boy to serve as his driver while he engaged in "nefarious activity" involving a loaded handgun and a high-speed chase will spend nearly three more years in jail.
Morgan Hourie was sentenced Thursday for possession of a loaded gun and crack cocaine in sale-ready packages. He was handed a three-year, eight-month jail term but credited with 10 months time served.
While the gun offence carried a three-year minimum mandatory sentence described as "onerous" by defence lawyer Darrel Schultz, judge Russell MacKay said the "extremely aggravating circumstances" leading to Hourie's arrest required a stiff sentence.
The driver, a 17-year-old boy, had packed his mother's Jeep Cherokee for a camping trip with his girlfriend March 7 when Hourie, a family friend, asked for a quick ride to the probation office. The boy consented, driving Hourie—who carried what prosecutor Michael Ledressay described as a "black man-purse—to the office for a 2:30 p.m. meeting.
Unbeknownst to the pair, Mounties were watching Hourie in the hopes he would lead them to a wanted acquaintance.
The pair left the probation office followed by the RCMP. After briefly losing the Jeep, Mounties rediscovered the vehicle parked at a Williams Street apartment building.
Minutes before police arrived, the boy had watched Hourie remove a gun from the purse and head inside the building. Alone in the vehicle, he sent a friend a pair of texts.
"Dude I am scared. Mo made me take him somewhere and he loaded his gun and went inside," he wrote at 2:55 p.m.
Two minutes later, he sent another text: "I gotta wait for him. I'm backed in so I don't get shot but it's like 50 Cent movie sh**."
Minutes later the Jeep pulled away from the apartment. A black Buick Rainier SUV followed, apparently in pursuit. The cars streaked south along Young Road and through a school zone at around 80 kilometres an hour. While there were no children present, the area was crowded by striking teachers.
Eventually, the Jeep was stopped by police on Vedder Road. Mounties spotted the passenger put something in the centre console, where they later found a 9-mm handgun with a single bullet in the chamber.
The driver, who was arrested at the scene for dangerous driving, told police what had happened and showed police the text messages.
Crown counsel Michael Ledressay said Hourie deserved a significant sentence for having "conscripted [the driver] into this absolute nefarious escapade."
Schultz argued Hourie—who was neglected by his addicted mother as a child and first tried crack cocaine at the age of 14—should only spend two more years in jail, after time served was taken into account. He said that in "the good old days," the gun offence would have warranted a sentence much less than the three-year minimum mandatory term now one the books.
But MacKay disagreed.
"Mr. Hourie conscripted a 17-year-old boy to assist him in his criminal enterprise without having much regard for the boy's safety," he said. "It is in my view extremely aggravating that he carried on in this way."