PICTOU – A New Glasgow man who waved a handgun in the face of bar-goers in December has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
James Falt, 28, was sentenced in Pictou Provincial Court Thursday after pleading guilty to 10 charges in relation to several different incidents over a span of a year-and-a-half.
The charges include two counts of assault from September 2012, two breaches of court orders from April 2013, another breach charge in July 2013, three weapon and a breach charge in December 2013 and an additional breach charge from April 2014.
The weapons charges were laid on Dec. 7 after local police received a call from Glasgow Pub that a man had a handgun on him in and outside the bar. One eyewitness noticed a gun tucked into the back of Falt’s pants when he leaned over and his shirt rode up his back. Although he didn’t get a good look at Falt in the pub, he told police he got a better look at him when he walked outside and he called police to report the gun sighting.
Meanwhile, two men who walked out of the pub around the same time that night to the back parking lot for a smoke said they came face to face with someone brandishing a handgun.
Crown attorney Bill Gorman said the men told officers a man started talking to them and when they told him to leave, he took out a handgun and waved it in their faces. They said they didn't get a good look at him because they were focused more on the gun, but were able to tell officers which direction he ran off to when police arrived at the pub.
A magazine for a 9 mm semi-automatic gun, containing three rounds of live ammunition, were found on the stairs of a clothing store and Falt was arrested by police short time later a few streets away from Glasgow Pub. The New Glasgow Regional Police’s K-9 unit was brought in to look for the gun and located a 9 mm weapon in the bushes behind the former Curves building, near MacDonald Street in New Glasgow.
Falt was later charged and pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a restricted weapon, possession of a concealed weapon and breach of probation since an earlier court order prohibited him from owning any type of firearm for the rest of his life.
“Restricted firearms are closely regulated in Canada and the fact that it was with live rounds in a public place is disturbing,” Atwood said.
The assault charges were laid after police officers responded to a domestic assault at a home in New Glasgow.
Gorman said when officers arrived at the residence, a woman inside said that Falt had pulled her hair and grabbed her arm while she was holding their five-month-old son in her arms. She also recounted a prior incident a few days earlier when he hit her in the face and caused bruising under her eye.
Falt was charged and placed on a court undertaking to have no contact with the woman, but police were told in September 2012 that he was texting her, leading them to charge him with breaching a court order. Other breach charges were for failing to attend court and not obeying a no-contact order two more times.
Judge Del Atwood said during the sentencing that breaches of court orders are to be taken seriously and expected to be followed when a person agrees to the terms laid out by a provincial court judge.
“The purpose of the bail system is to ensure a person who is charged with an offence can be released into the community until the charges are concluded,” Atwood said. “The violations by Falt are fundamental because by contacting he re-victimized her. It puts psychological pressure on the victim and failure to attend court defeats justice. He was AWOL several months before he returned to court.”
Atwood sentenced Falt to 18 months in prison, but he also said the joint submission recommendation by the Crown and defence was on the low end of the scale.