A report outlining the decision behind sentencing Neil Cantrill, Stephan Cantrill and Robert Lowry for a violent kidnapping that took place in Hope in 2016 was released on Friday.
As previously reported, Hells Angel member Neil Cantrill will serve 10 years, his son Stephen Cantrill will serve six years, and Robert Lowry will serve nine years in jail. They each will also have a 10-year firearms ban, and concurrent sentencing for related charges.
The three men were found guilty of various crimes in the kidnapping and assault of a former drug-dealing associate in Hope five years ago.
The kidnapping, extortion, and overcoming resistance offences can carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, so the judge laid out reasons for the reduced sentences, which were handed down on July 16.
The report describes mitigating and aggravating factors in the chosen length of sentencing for each man, and goes into detail describing their hardships.
Lowry was once a promising computer programmer, having developed a computer program and eventually being awarded a $970,000 grant from the federal government for software development. He and his wife raised two children, and have a close family.
In 2007, Lowry was diagnosed with concurrent mental health issues, followed by a car accident in 2009 that resulted in a brain injury. He currently suffers from anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood and sleep disorders, bi-polar disorder, anger issues, hypogonadism and syncope.
His medical issues led to his life taking a turn for the worse, the judge wrote. He became a “hang around” with the Hells Angels chapter where Neil Cantrill is a member. But the court found that when Lowry joined up with Cantrill, he didn’t intend to get involved in a violent attack. He also does not have a criminal record. But just the same, he participated, the report read.
“Mr. Lowry was directly involved in the choking at the pullout, an attack that caused the victim to soil himself and nearly blackout. He was also involved in an aggressive, targeted beating within the vehicle,” the judge wrote.
The three had been convicted last July in New Westminster Supreme Court on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, extortion, forcible confinement and attempting to choke to overcome resistance.
Court documents describe a business arrangement between Neil Cantrill and victim of the assault Richard Houle involving cannabis grow operations in Hope and Dogwood Valley. The pair began working together in 2001 or 2002 in an arrangement whereby Houle would grow and deliver the product to Edmonton, from there Cantrill would take over distribution.
The agreement ended in 2014, when Houle said he wanted to stop. Yet two years later the three men assaulted and threatened Houle at a pullout near the Fraser River bridge before driving with him to his home in Kawkawa Lake. Once at the home, police arrived and arrested the three men as Houle was taken to hospital with injuries including a fractured orbital bone and torn sinus linings.
The younger Cantrill also lacked a criminal record, and has strong community and family support, the judge found.
The elder Cantrill had a long gap in his criminal record between his younger life and when the kidnapping took place. Also, his prior convictions were for much less serious crimes, the judge found.
He also has prostate cancer, obstructive urinary symptoms, diabetes and is hard of hearing.
“Neil is suffering from some serious health conditions that will make any custodial time more difficult for him,” the report reads.
Sentencing for other charges will run concurrently to the kidnapping sentences.
Each of the men also have a firearms prohibition of 10 years.
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