South Surrey weapons conviction upheld

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A man found guilty two years ago of having two semi-automatic guns concealed in the back seat of a car in South Surrey has lost an appeal of his conviction.

Saekwan Lee was convicted in Surrey Provincial Court in February 2012 of two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon without a licence.

Lee appealed his conviction on the grounds that the trial judge misinterpreted the evidence.

It was January 2009 when police were called to 16 Avenue and 128 Street in response to a complaint about a loud noise and two vehicles in the area of the Ocean Park Shopping Centre. Because both vehicles left abruptly, an RCMP officer followed and attempted to pull them over. While one sped off, a red Ford Explorer stopped.

With a strong marijuana smell coming from the vehicle, he asked the driver and Lee (the passenger) to exit. The Explorer was then searched and a plastic bag was found partially under the back seat. Inside were two semi-automatic pistols, both with their serial numbers ground off.

During forensics, seven identifiable fingerprints were found, five of which were Lee's.

Three B.C. Appeal Court justices agreed with the trial judge that the evidence was sufficient.

"The evidence is that the weapons at issue were found in a bag in a car where the appellant was the passenger," wrote Justice Richard Goepel in his April 24 decision, with Justices Elizabeth Bennett and Peter Lowry in agreement. "The bag had a number of the appellant’s fingerprints on it. The appellant did not testify. In my view, it cannot be said that the conviction is unreasonable and not supported by the evidence."


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