Switching seats with his female passenger within view of an RCMP roadblock near Princeton has cost a man almost half a year of freedom.
Mounties watched Rene Michael Charles Cherot swap places with the woman in her Jeep at a Highway 3 rest stop on Nov. 2, 2014, court heard at this sentencing hearing Tuesday in provincial court in Penticton.
An officer walked over to the Jeep and soon spotted a can of bear spray inside, and a further search of the vehicle turned up a shotgun, one pound of marijuana and suspected cocaine and ecstasy.
Cherot, 38, pleaded guilty to operating a motor vehicle while disqualified, possession of a controlled substance and occupying a vehicle in which there is a firearm.
He was sentenced to a total of five months in jail, which will start in March when he finishes serving what had been a conditional sentence of house arrest for prior offences.
The conditional sentence was collapsed to a jail term upon his arrest in November, since he didn’t have permission to leave Princeton.
Defence counsel James Pennington said his client left town for the weekend to meet relatives in the Lower Mainland whom he hadn’t seen for 10 years, but didn’t have a chance to get clearance ahead of time.
“So he rolled the dice and he crapped out,” said Pennington.
The lawyer added that Cherot’s female companion, who owned the vehicle in which they were travelling, did most of the driving but became ill, so Cherot took over not long before the roadblock west of Princeton, and tried to switch her seats before the roadblock because his driver’s licence was suspended.
“We might all have done that, given his circumstances,” said Judge Gale SInclair with a grin.
Besides the jail term, the judge also handed Cherot a three-year driving ban and a five-year weapons prohibition.