Jail time for Sydney man involved in mall lockdown

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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Cape Breton Regional Police locked down the Mayflower Mall in Sydney April 22 



A 35-year-old Sydney man who prompted a two-hour lockdown of the largest mall in eastern Nova Scotia and later created some tense moments in downtown Sydney by waving and pointing a handgun has been sentenced.

Jonathan James Linders, of no fixed address, is to serve a four-month provincial jail sentence followed by a one-year probation period. He is also banned from possessing firearms for 10 years and a lifetime ban from prohibited weapons.

He was given the sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of breaching court orders and a single count of possession of a weapon dangerous to public peace, a BB handgun.

Linders came to the attention of Cape Breton Regional Police on April 22 when they received several calls from individuals reporting a man with a gun outside the Mayflower Mall.

Prosecutor Shane Russell told the court witnesses reported seeing Linders digging in a snowbank at the back of the mall and pulling out what appeared to be a handgun and placing in the waistband of his pants.

Russell said Linders never entered the mall but left the area and surfaced a short time later in downtown Sydney.

While Linders was on his way downtown, police had converged on the mall searching for their suspect. The mall, which hadn't opened for the day, remained closed for about two hours while police searched the area.

Police were then directed to downtown after calls were received about a man with a gun in front of the TD bank on Charlotte Street.

Witnesses told police the man was waving a gun in the air and then pointing it in different directions. He made no threats to anyone.

In arriving on scene, police issued a demand to the suspect to drop the weapon and get on the ground to which he complied.

The weapon turned out to be a BB gun and whether Linders himself placed the gun in the snowbank or whether he found it by accident is unknown, said Russell.

The sentence imposed by provincial court Judge Peter Ross was a joint recommendation by Russell and defence lawyer Matt MacNeil.

"This was just more than a stupid mistake," said Russell, adding if officers on scene had not taken such calm approach in arresting Linders, there could have been a vastly different outcome.

In passing sentence, Ross said he wasn't sure if there was an actual offence committed at the mall but the scene downtown was a different story.

"You put yourself and others at a very high risk," said the judge.

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