Guilty sentence for weapons use, acquittal for murder

Court decisions related to a high-speed shootout on Westside Road in 2012

  • Mar. 4, 2015 7:00 a.m.

KATHY MICHAELS

Black Press

The man who led police on a high-speed shootout from West Kelowna to the outer reaches of Vernon in the summer of 2012 has been acquitted of all attempted murder charges he faced.

Michael Ellis, 41, was however found guilty of a number of weapons and robbery charges.

In his decision Justice Ian Josephson said that Crown failed to prove that Ellis ever intended to kill any of the people who were fired at during the chase.

While he may not have decided to kill anyone during the shootout, Josephson rejected the idea that Ellis was just a dupe.

That storyline was floated out by Shawn Adam Wysynski, who had already been sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in the shootout.

Wysynski told the court that he was the mastermind behind the shootout and Ellis was merely doing what he was told.

“I reject completely the submission that Ellis was acting under duress or that I should have a reasonable doubt in that regard,” said Josephson.

“The only evidence supporting that theory comes from  Mr. Wysynski, which I reject as entirely false and unreliable. Mr. Wysynski, after securing his position with his own sentence, was attempting to throw a float ring to Mr. Ellis, who was drowning in the sea of overwhelming evidence against him.

“That evidence, which I accept, reveals that Mr. Ellis was a full and willing participant in this mad, misguided and extremely dangerous scheme to avoid detention by police. To that end, Mr. Ellis and Mr. Wysynski set out to terrorize innocent uninvolved civilians at gun point and were willing to endanger the lives of police officers or anyone else whom they perceived as a risk by discharging countless rounds of ammunition from a prohibited weapon at moving police and civilian vehicles from their own moving vehicle.”

Although it’s too early for lawyers to comment on their sentencing recommendations related to the convictions, Crown counsel Murray Kaay asked that a dangerous offender assessment be conducted. Where that leads remains to be seen, but designation as a dangerous offender — which is rarely attained — does result in an indeterminate prison sentence.