Gun safes

It’s been more than a year since police seized firearms and accessories from a man in Okanagan Falls, and now he’s asking for a judge’s help to get it all back.

Michael Rupert last week filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court to force the RCMP return his property. Attorneys general for both the provincial and federal governments are also named as respondents.

Two locked safes containing guns, ammunition and accessories were taken by Mounties from Rupert’s home on Aug. 14, 2019, after officers were called to an incident there “that arose out of an altercation between (Rupert) and his then-spouse,” according to the petition.

“Firearms were not involved in this incident or in any other incident between the petitioner and his then-spouse.”

Rupert claims the Crown initially sought a peace bond between him and his former spouse, but the Crown later stayed the matter in December 2019, bringing the case to a close without a peace bond or charges.

But without Rupert’s knowledge, an RCMP officer in September 2019 was able to obtain a provincial court order from a judicial justice of the peace forfeiting the gun safes and contents to the Crown.

Rupert, who’s described as a businessman in the petition, only learned about the order after spending “months” asking the RCMP to return his property once the court case was concluded.

“To be clear, this forfeiture took place without any notice, before any adjudication had been made on the petitioner’s case before the courts, and without merit as the firearms were not involved in this or any other incident,” states the petition.

It goes on to note Rupert “was and is at all times a licensed firearms holder and a hunting permit holder. His firearms were safely stored.”

In addition to getting back his guns and equipment, Rupert is also seeking costs, plus unspecified punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages.

None of the other parties has filed a response to the petition yet.