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Pharmacist convicted for possession of firearm

Apr 27 2012

A former Saanich pharmacist has been convicted of possession of a loaded restricted firearm.

Ali Laal, former owner of Pharmaesthetics Inc. at 3960 Quadra St. and the People's Pharmacy in Esquimalt, was also convicted Tuesday of breach of recognizance by having a firearm.

Victoria provincial court Judge Adrian Brooks ordered a presentence report on the self-represented Laal. His case has been adjourned until June 21 to await completion of that report.

Laal was arrested on July 16, 2009, after an inspector with the B.C. College of Pharmacists found a handgun underneath a couch cushion in the office of his Saanich pharmacy.

Inspector Alan Samuelson testified that he was called to a meeting with college officials on July 15, 2009, and asked to inspect Pharmaesthetics. The inspection was being conducted in response to a complaint made to the college, he said.

Samuelson was told that a previous police investigation found Laal had 16 weapons and that he was prohibited from having any firearms in his possession. After Samuelson found the loaded handgun, he told a police officer, who quickly shut down the inspection and asked the investigators to leave.

Two pharmacy technicians who worked for Laal testified that Laal had shown them the handgun. Laal testified he had never seen the loaded handgun before. He also testified the pharmacy technicians had fabricated their stories.

Brooks rejected Laal's evidence, finding it was Laal's gun and that Laal had put it in the couch.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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