A Chilliwack man’s bid to get out of jail has been denied. Tyler Joshua Priebe will spent more time at Surrey Pretrial Services Centre after receiving a four year sentence. Ten days after his sentencing hearing, the 28-year-old returned to the Chilliwack Law Courts Friday (Feb. 24) to hear the verdict from judge Peter Whyte.
Crown had been seeking five years concurrent on two counts of possessing a restricted firearm. Defence argued that time already served (43 months) was sufficient but Whyte said that the nature of Priebe’s crimes warranted a stiffer sentence. The verdict tacks on another 117 days, though Priebe will only serve two third of that behind bars thanks to statutory release.
“He threatened and intimidated the victim. He assaulted the victim. He did so at an elementary school. He made a conscious decision to carry his altered handgun in public, at once concealed but readily available,” the judge said as he read his decision.
Both of Priebe’s offences involved a semi-automatic Glock handgun that was altered to be fully automatic.
He moved to B.C. from Nova Scotia in the summer of 2020 and started hanging out with a man named Jordan Cole Burt. On Sept. 7, 2020 they met with two men in the parking lot of Chilliwack’s McCammon Elementary School, intending to pick up a rented U-Haul van. Priebe knew one of the men, and had bad blood with him from two years prior.
During a confrontation that followed inside a car, Priebe pulled out the gun, threatened to shoot the man and hit him in the head with the butt of the gun.
That was the first incident, and the second was Priebe’s arrest by the RCMP Serious Crime Unit on Sept. 24, 2020 in Kelowna. He had a bag that contained the gun, which was loaded with a nine millimetre magazine.
During his sentencing submission, Whyte was shown a cellphone video from Sept. 16, 2020 of Priebe firing the gun for just a second or two on a forest service road off Chilliwack Lake Road. When police visited that site they found 21 shell casings. The court also saw text messages from Sept. 16 and 17, 2020 between Priebe and someone who he hoped could provide a bag he could wear to hide the gun.
Priebe’s case involved significant ‘Gladue’ factors, meaning his Indigenous background played a role in sentencing. The Gladue report painted the picture of a very difficult upbringing.
He has done well in jail, getting his Grade 12 Dogwood certificate and re-connecting with his Indigenous culture. Priebe has no previous criminal record, and Whyte saw several letters from friends and family describing him as a changed man who has experienced a wakeup call.
All of that worked in Priebe’s favour, but ultimately Whyte said the aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors. If not for the Gladue report, he said a sentence of five and not four years, would have been appropriate.
“The offences are grave. While Mr. Priebe’s responsibility is affected by the presence of significant Gladue factors, I nonetheless attribute a high degree of responsibility to him for his conduct,” Whyte noted. “I conclude that Mr. Priebe’s behaviour reflects a truly criminal intent that is not outweighed by his significant mitigating factors. Consequently I do not find that a time-served sentence would meet the pressing need for denunciation and deterrence.”
When he is released, Priebe plans to move back to Nova Scotia where his father and stepmother live, and he has a job as a drywaller waiting for him.
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