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Nova Scotia man jailed after raid uncovers arsenal in rural workshop

Last Updated Feb 14, 2018 at 3:20 pm EST

HALIFAX – His friends and family call him a nice, generous guy with a big heart. But when police raided the rural property of a Halifax-area tradesman, they found an arsenal — and more.

Fifteen guns were seized from Donald Halpenny’s garage workshop, including three loaded handguns, along with two silencers, Kevlar body armour, a police duty belt, handcuffs and baton.

Halpenny, a 57-year-old air-conditioning and refrigeration technician, has been ordered to serve 30 months in jail by a judge who said Halpenny was likely not the simple gun collector he professed to be.

“Possession of loaded handguns together with silencers is not something one would equate with a gun hobbyist. An inference can be drawn that such possession was for nefarious purposes, not necessarily by the accused, but by others with whom he associated,” Justice Felix Cacchione said in a written Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision released Wednesday.

The judge noted that Halpenny had been ordered while on bail to not have contact with either Jimmy Melvin Jr. or Jimmy Melvin Sr., “both of whom are notorious and violent crime figures in this city.”

Police raided Halpenny’s mobile home and garage in Mount Uniacke on July 30, 2015, and found a loaded Smith and Wesson .9 mm Luger, a Colt Cobra .38 revolver, a loaded Arminius .357 revolver, and a loaded Tanfoglio .22 revolver, along with two silencers.

Six rifles and two shotguns were found in a gun safe, with one of the handguns found in a hidden compartment in the gun safe. Two plastic-wrapped rifles were found hidden in the ceiling insulation, and ammunition found elsewhere in the garage.

One pistol was found in a holster, under some clothing.

Also in the garage were: a Kevlar vest, a police traffic vest and rain hat cover, a police duty belt, handcuffs, baton, flashlight holder and pepper spray holder.

Halpenny, a former member of the Canadian Forces, said he was a hunter and collector but “got tired” of renewing his firearms permits. He denied any intention to use the guns.

His friends and family attested to his good character, ethics, maturity and reliability. One called him “a good man caught in a bad situation.” His daughter said he’d never let her down.

Halpenny pleaded guilty to six of 25 charges against him, with his lawyer asking for a sentence without jail time. The Crown had asked for a sentence of four to five years.

Cacchione noted the body armour and police paraphernalia required a jail term as deterrence to Halpenny and others.

“The possession of readily accessible loaded handguns poses a real, immediate and extreme danger to the public and anyone in the presence of those weapons. Such behaviour must be denounced,” he said.

The judge also imposed a lifetime weapons ban and forfeiture of the weapons.

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