Parasiris pleads guilty
Published Thursday, January 22, 2009 7:47PM EST
The man at the centre of a landmark police shooting case pleaded guilty Thursday to eight weapons-related counts against him.
Basil Parasiris, the only Canadian ever to be granted bail on a police-killing charge, was in Longueuil court.
The judge also heard sentencing arguments from the defence and crown. They agreed to a 20-month sentence on weapons charges. Parasiris already served eight weeks in prison, and with time served counting for double, the sentence would actually equal 16 months.
The judge is not obliged to accept the suggestion. He postponed the decision until Feb. 3.
However, if the sentence is accepted, Parasiris could be out on parole as early as the summer.
Once he starts to serve his sentence he will be eligible for parole after one-sixth of time served--unless the parole board views his offence as a violent crime. In this case, he will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence.
However, since the charges related to storing weapons at his home, it is possible the parole board will not view this as a violent crime, making him eligible for parole in as little as three months.
Last June, in a case that made national headlines, Parasiris was acquitted in the shooting death of Laval police officer Daniel Tessier during a botched drug raid at the Parasiris home in Brossard in March of 2007.
The jury apparently believed Parasiris' claim that the officers didn't identify themselves and that he thought they were home invaders at the time that he opened fire. Laval police expressed disappointment with the verdict given that Parasiris never denied he fired the shots.
Although the jury was never told, the trial judge had previously ruled the police raid illegal altogether.
He had concluded there wasn't enough evidence to support a police warrant and said the raid shouldn't have been conducted early in the morning while Parasiris' wife and children were present.
Parasiris is suing the Laval police force and the Quebec Crown prosecutor for $1.5 million. The suit alleges police acted on an unjustified search warrant and that his family was threatened.
In a report issued last fall Quebec's Workplace, Health and Safety Commission said police did not properly evaluate the risks to officers before entering the Parasiris home.
The CSST added police did not find Parasiris' name in the gun registry because they searched by address instead of by name. Laval police have said they'll improve training procedures.