‘I have a whole new way of looking at life’

St. John’s woman caught with sawed-off shotgun says jail time has made her realize her mistakes

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on August 7, 2013
Amanda Murphy is led away in handcuffs after she was sentenced to a year in prison Tuesday in provincial court in St. John’s. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A 27-year-old woman who had a sawed-off shotgun in her car has been given a yearlong prison term.

Amanda Murphy was sentenced Tuesday morning in provincial court in St. John’s.

She was given 5 1/2 months straight-time credit for the time she’s already spent in custody, leaving 6 1/2 months to serve on her term.

“I just want to say that I’ve learned a lot in the past five months or so,” Murphy told Judge Colin Flynn before sentencing. “I’ve never been in jail before and being away from my (two) kids, I have a whole new way of looking at life.”

Murphy pleaded guilty to seven charges — possessing a prohibited weapon, possessing a restricted firearm, being the occupant of a vehicle in which she knew there was a restricted firearm, three counts of breaching court orders and theft under $5,000.

The weapons charges were laid Feb. 22. At 2 a.m. that morning, she was pulled over by police, who had been looking for her in connection with a December 2012 theft at a drugstore.

When officers shone a flashlight inside the car, they saw a baseball bat and what appeared to be a gun sticking out of a gym bag. When police opened the car doors and took the bag out, they discovered it was a sawed-off shotgun, as well as several shells. There was a male passenger whom Murphy claimed she didn’t know.

Murphy was taken into custody. When she was brought to the St. John’s Lockup, it was discovered Murphy had a butterfly knife, as well as another flip-type knife.

The theft happened Dec. 8, 2012, when Murphy took a cellphone from an employee’s coat.

She went back to the store to return the phone on Christmas Eve. She told the employee she had needed the phone to make an important phone call. The employee pursued charges anyway.

During the sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor Sheldon Steeves pointed out that Murphy had been convicted of a similar firearms charge in 2010, when she was given a conditional sentence.

He said it was unfortunate that the Crown didn’t proceed by way of indictment, which would have ensured Murphy had gotten a stiffer sentence.

But since it elected to proceed by way of summary conviction, in which there is no mandatory minimum sentence, he requested Murphy get a 15- to 16-month jail term.

Defence lawyer Kevin Baker said a sentence of a year was appropriate, since Murphy has two small children and has acknowledged what she did was wrong.

“She’s accepted responsibility and acknowledged her guilt,” Baker said. “She wants to get out of the prison system and is looking towards rehabilitation. ... She’s anxious to put this behind her.”

As part of the sentence, Murphy will be on 18 months’ probation once released.

The judge also agreed with the Crown’s request to have the weapon forfeited to the police. Murphy is also prohibited from having a weapons for 20 years.


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