On Sept. 8, 2021, a member of the Strathmore RCMP Detachment was charged with a criminal offence for an off-duty incident that resulted in a police investigation by Calgary Police Service. However, the “technical” breach of the Criminal Code won’t result in a criminal record for the mountie.
On Monday, Constable Blaine Taylor pleaded guilty to a single charge of having a Beretta handgun without having a licence to possess it. However, he will not have a criminal record going forward, as the judge in the case, Justice Paul Mason, concurred with the prosecution that a conditional discharge was appropriate in the case.
The Crown heard, on August 25, 2021, Taylor attended a public shooting range Straight Shooters Indoor Range in Calgary with his family. Taylor brought with him two of his service handguns, a Smith & Wesson and a Colt. Taylor would also bring a privately owned handgun to the range, where his family would take turns firing the weapons.
According to Crown prosecutor Tom Buglas, staff at the shooting range expressed concerns at which time Taylor secured the firearms and placed them in his vehicle. He would return to the range and would rent weapons from Straight Shooters.
Taylor didn’t have a possession acquisition licence for the Beretta which he suggested may have been provided by another RCMP member. Taylor admitted that everyone involved in the decision should have known better.
Defence counsel Robb Beeman said Taylor decided at the suggestion of his wife to show his sons how to use firearms. Beeman said that because the Smith & Wesson had a heavy trigger pull, a fellow member of the force offered to loan the Beretta because it had a lighter pull.
Beeman said Taylor was subjected to a code of conduct review by the RCMP, “He was ultimately cleared. In fact, the RCMP was of the opinion his actions were in compliance with the policy.”
While officers are permitted to use their service weapons for practice as well as for educational purposes, it was the use of the borrowed weapon that turned the case into a criminal matter.
Taylor was permitted to allow his sons and wife to use the guns in a safe setting, however, it was only the use of the borrowed gun that made his client’s conduct criminal.
Beeman stated that rather than borrow the Berretta, he could have rented a firearm from the shooting range, in which all of this would have been avoided, which is why this particular case was a technical breach of the criminal code.
Buglas withdraw the additional four offences that Taylor had been charged with in relation to his RCMP weapons stating that Taylor had a legitimate defence for using those.
Taylor will have four months of probation, which is mandatory, while a condition of his discharge is that he make a $300 donation to the charity of his choice.