OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — A judge sentenced a military reservist who crashed his truck through a gate on the grounds where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty last month.
Corey Hurren, a 46-year-old sausage-maker and military reservist from Manitoba, had faced 21 weapons charges and one of threatening the prime minister.
He pleaded guilty last month to seven weapons charges related to possession of prohibited or restricted firearms and one charge of mischief by wilfully causing $100,000 worth of damage to the Rideau Hall gate.
Hurren drove a truck onto the grounds of where Trudeau lives on July 2 last year and rammed through the gate, which caused the vehicle to stall and its airbags to deploy. He then set out on foot toward Rideau Cottage, where Trudeau and his family are living due to repairs needed at the prime minister’s traditional official residence at 24 Sussex Drive. Trudeau was not home at the time.
Police were able to talk Hurren down and arrested him peacefully after about 90 minutes.
In delivering the sentence, Ontario Court Justice Robert Wadden said Hurren would be given one year of credit for time spent in custody, meaning he still faces five years behind bars.
Prosecutors were seeking a six-year sentence, saying that Hurren’s actions posed a serious threat to public safety.
Hurren’s lawyer was seeking a lesser sentence for his client, describing him as a hardworking member of society who suffered financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic that put him into a state of depression.
He was initially accused of uttering a threat to “cause death or bodily harm” to Trudeau.
But in an agreed statement of facts read in an Ottawa courtroom, Hurren told police he didn’t intend to hurt anyone, and that he wanted to arrest Trudeau to make a statement about the federal government’s COVID-19 restrictions and its ban on assault-style firearms.
He had hoped to make the arrest during Trudeau’s daily pandemic news conference outside Rideau Cottage.
Hurren, who told police he hadn’t qualified for emergency aid benefits, was angry about losing his business and his guns. He believed Canada was turning into a communist state.
At no point did Hurren tell police he wanted to kill Trudeau, according to the statement. He also told police he didn’t want to hurt them and did not point a weapon at them as officers tried to de-escalate the incident.
While police were talking Hurren down, they received a complaint from one of his friends, who reported that Hurren had sent him “a disturbing text message containing a picture of a suicide note.”
Data retrieved from his cellphone, Facebook and Instagram posts included exchanges with friends about “conspiracy theories related to the Canadian government,” and suggestions that COVID-19 is a hoax.