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Echo Bay man found with too many guns gets house arrest

He was on a 10-year prohibition at the time, with a limited exception for protecting his livestock
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The Sault Ste. Marie Courthouse is pictured in this file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday
An Echo Bay man will spend nine months under house arrest for violating two firearms prohibitions, a judge ruled Tuesday.

When he imposed the conditional sentence, Ontario Court Justice John Condon cited the need for a "serious sentence" to send a message to the 44-year-old man and others that there are consequences for not following such orders.

Jeffrey Goslow pleaded guilty on Aug. 16 to possessing a firearm contrary to the prohibition orders.

The Crown and defence agreed that a six-month custodial term was required, but the lawyers weren't on the same page about where Goslow should do his time. 

Prosecutor Robert Skeggs argued that it should be behind bars, while defence lawyer Joe Greco called for a sentence that would be served in the community.

Goslow was placed on two 10-year prohibition orders after being convicted of possession of a prohibited weapon and possession of a loaded prohibited weapon on May 8, 2017.

He was given an exception to possess two firearms for sustenance and to protect his livestock from wild predators.

The court heard police were dispatched to Goslow's residence, about a family dispute involving the accused and his father, on Feb. 4 of this year.

Officers found he had a total of seven firearms in the home, but only had an exception to possess two of them, including a 12-gauge shot gun.

The five others were properly secured, the judge noted in his decision.

In his argument, Greco said a jail sentence would have an economical cost for his client, an Algoma Steel employee. 

Goslow would lose his employment, his source of income and "everything," he said, maintaining the accused was a sportsman.

Skeggs countered that Goslow was a criminal, who had five additional guns, and no valid explanation for why he had accumulated them. 

The assistant Crown attorney pointed out that Goslow had acquired the weapons less than two years into the 10-year prohibition orders.

Referring to a pre-sentence report, the judge noted the accused has been employed with the steel company for 15 years — among the most lucrative and coveted jobs in Sault Ste. Marie.

When jobs are lost there, they are not easily regained, Condon said.

Goslow supports his wife and her daughter, as well as his ex and their children, and "both of the families would be collateral damage" if he lost his employment as "the result of poor judgement and disrespect for the orders," he said.

Condon cited a number of aggravating factors, including the man's possession of additional unauthorized firearms that came to light because of a conflict.

Prohibition orders are meant to protect the public, and the appropriate penalty for this accused involves a custodial sentence in the community, he said, adding Goslow wouldn't present a danger.

Goslow told police he had the guns, they were properly stored, and there was no evidence he had acquired them or used them for an unlawful purpose, the judge said.

During his sentence, Goslow can only leave his residence and property to go directly to and from his employment, church and for medical emergencies, and on Wednesday mornings to obtain the necessities of life.

He will be probation for 15 months, when he completes the sentence, with conditions that include counselling and no firearms.

Condon ordered the forfeiture of the seized firearms and said no to any further exemptions.

As well, he added another five-year weapon prohibition.

The judge warned Goslow if he breaches the sentence he will lose his job, and "there wouldn't be anyone else responsible but you." 

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