A Surrey man who got clean, finished high school and earned a bachelor’s degree in business management while behind bars will spend another 22 months in jail before he gets the chance to prove to the public that he’s changed for the better.
And Jason Vincent Cook knows his odds of continuing on a positive path are better if he serves his time in a provincial facility.
Federal prison is where he became addicted to drugs, Cook told Judge Ellen Gordon during his recent sentencing hearing in Surrey Provincial Court. The Nov. 1 hearing followed guilty pleas on charges of possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm and possession of a firearm while prohibited.
The brief statement affirmed comments by Cook’s lawyer, Ondine Snowdon, who outlined for the court her client’s efforts to turn his life around.
The Edmonton-born 31-year-old has been clean from cocaine since 2006, Snowdon said. In addition to efforts to further his education, Cook has reconnected with his mother while serving time for the past two months in a Vancouver Island facility. He has also been assured a job upon his release, she said.
He is “anxious to get out and live a better life,” she said.
Snowdon noted her client has struggled with addiction since he was 15 years old – a condition Gordon acknowledged has factored into much of Cook’s criminal history.
Crown Crichton Pike noted that history includes a 2006 incident in which an individual who intervened in an altercation between Cook and another person ended up with his throat slashed. Cook dropped a homemade pipe bomb at that scene, Pike added.
Online court records note Cook’s record also includes possession of stolen property and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle in August 2004.
Cook was last arrested the afternoon of March 29, 2010, after police found a loaded sawed-off shotgun in a Dodge Durango that had mechanical difficulties near the Langley/Abbotsford border.
The incident began “somewhat innocuously,” Pike told Gordon.
Pike explained that an RCMP officer who happened to stop by the scene discovered the female driver was actually prohibited from being behind the wheel. The officer ran the Durango’s license plate and found it had been tampered with to change a ‘C’ to an ‘O’, Pike said.
After the driver’s arrest, she whispered to the officer that she was being held against her will – a point later proven untrue – and that there was a gun in the vehicle, Pike said.
The shotgun and some shells were found in a storage area located over a rear wheel well, and Cook and one other man were arrested, Pike said.
Cook told police the shotgun was his, Pike noted. Gordon took the fact it was not being used for anything nefarious at the time of arrest into account in sentencing.
“The gun seemed to be safely out of sight… only brought to police attention not for something you did,” she told Cook.
In addition to the further 22 months incarceration, Gordon ordered Cook to submit a DNA sample and prohibited him from owning or possessing any weapons “for the rest of your life.” It is an order he’s been given before, Pike noted in his submissions.