By Alison Langley (Review Reporter)
Arming himself with a pistol to express his concern that alcohol was flowing a bit too freely at a Niagara restaurant proved costly for a Fort Erie man.
Dustin Clark was granted a conditional discharge and placed on probation for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace in Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines Thursday.
Court heard the 36-year-old became increasingly upset with staff at an Erie Road restaurant, claiming they were continuing to serve alcohol despite patrons being inebriated.
“Mr. Clark lived in the area and was constantly confronting drunken patrons who were causing problems when leaving the restaurant,” said assistant Crown attorney Grace Pang.
Court heard the defendant entered the restaurant several times and shared his concerns with the bartender.
On March 1, 2020, he returned to the restaurant and the bartender spotted what appeared to be the butt of handgun sticking out of the man’s waistband.
The bartender called police.
An investigation later determined the weapon was an airsoft pistol.
“He got to a boiling point because the bar wasn’t addressing his concerns, nonetheless, there was no excuse for what he did there,” the Crown said.
Defence lawyer Jeremie Nadeau described what happened as an “out of character incident.”
He said his client has since moved from the area.
Judge Donald Wolfe noted the incident could have had a far more serious outcome if police had confronted man they thought was carrying a handgun.
“He’s fortunate that nothing else happened as a result. This could have had a tragic ending.”