Gun smuggling at Osoyoos crossing brings three-year jail term

Photo: Joe Fries/Penticton Herald

Joe Fries
Penticton Herald


A man convicted of attempting to smuggle two handguns from the U.S. through the border crossing in Osoyoos was sentenced to the mandatory minimum three years jail Monday.

The man formerly known and identified on court documents as Alex Louie, but referred to by his preferred name of Senk’lip during court proceedings, was convicted at trial in October 2017 of nine counts of firearms and smuggling offences.

Senk’lip was sentenced Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Penticton to five counts due to the “Kienapple principle” preventing multiple convictions for a single criminal act, including two counts of unauthorized importation of a firearm, two counts of possessing a firearm without a license and one count of false or deceptive statements regarding the import of goods.

Justice Arne Silverman gave Senk’lip, who was self-represented, 40 minutes to make his sentencing submissions Monday, which he used to reiterate arguments made before, during and after trial.

Senk’lip, who self identifies as a North American Indian, argued the court has no jurisdiction over himself or his people as the land is unceded and there is no treaty signed between his people and the government of Canada.

 

He also referenced his mother, who was called as a witness at trial, and her treatment under the residential school system.

“This is who I am. It’s undisputed. When it comes to this English language that I speak. My mom is an attest to … her being raped, beaten and told not to speak her language and starved and any number of atrocities that happened to her,” Senk’lip said. “Again and again. This was created from court orders to steal children.”

Senk’lip previously argued he should have the right to freely move across the border. Despite Judge Silverman throwing out the constitutional challenge prior to the trial, and multiple reminders his challenges would have no bearing on his sentence, Senk’lip continued to make the arguments during sentencing submissions.

“I rejected that argument as well. There’s no doubt that aboriginal rights should remain constitutionally protected in this country, but those are superseded by the rights of this country, or any country, to protect itself from certain harms,” the judge said. “Protecting our borders is one of them and certainly protecting our borders from people bringing guns over them.”

Judge Silverman shut down any attempts by Senk’lip to argue his access to the law library while in custody was stifled, noting the constant attempts to get Senk’lip a lawyer were ignored.

Senk’lip has 477 days remaining on his sentence after pre-trial custody credit was included. He was also given a mandatory lifetime prohibited firearms ban and a 10-year weapons ban.

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