Tessier given house arrest for 2018 North Dundas drugs and weapons bust

The Cornwall courthouse at 29 Second Street West. (Newswatch Group/File)

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CORNWALL – A Chesterville woman has been given a lengthy house arrest sentence in connection to a May 2018 drug and weapons bust near the village.

Brittany Tessier, 32, was sentenced today (Thursday) to 18 months after pleading guilty in March to four charges – possession of property obtained by crime, careless storage of firearms, careless storage of ammunition and possession of a firearm without a licence.

Her spouse was also charged and convicted in March. Brandon Elliott, 30, is serving two-and-a-half years in a federal prison.

In May 2018, police searched a County Road 7 home in North Dundas and seized marijuana, crystal meth, GHB, speed, cocaine, stolen guns including a sawed-off shotgun, and cash.

Tessier will serve the first three months under full house arrest with the remaining 15 months under a curfew.

Court heard how Tessier – a mother of a newborn with no prior criminal record – had turned her life around after finding out she was pregnant shortly after her June 2018 arrest. She immediately quit smoking and using drugs.

Her lawyer, William Webber, told court that his client changed with her pregnancy. “She really views (the baby) as the best thing that ever happened to her life,” he said. “Everything is going in a very positive direction.”

Tessier’s mother and grandmother have both been diagnosed with cancer and Tessier has been taken them to treatments as she currently lives with her parents, Webber explained.

Webber added that his client intends to continue a relationship with Elliott once he’s out of prison but there will be zero tolerance for drugs or weapons. “Upon his release from custody, if there is any drug use whatsoever, that relationship is going to be over. She will not stand to have any substance abuse around (the baby).”

Crown attorney Michael Purcell had intended on seeking six months in jail for the “toxic combination of guns and drugs in commons areas” of Tessier and Elliott’s Chesterville home.

But Purcell softened his position and agreed with a conditional sentence given the “very significant and personal circumstances” Tessier is facing. He believed putting her in jail could have an adverse impact on the 3-month-old child and Tessier’s mother, who is getting chemotherapy treatments at this time.

Judge Johanne Lafrance-Cardinal recounted how the charges were serious and how Tessier’s spouse, Brandon Elliott, had taken “ownership of most of this.”

But she also noted Tessier’s “pro-social lifestyle” and that she was remorseful. “As soon as you found out you were pregnant, you took this role very seriously and without any counselling and without any help of any kind, you were able to kick that habit, because by the time you did get help you had already gone though the worst,” Lafrance-Cardinal said.

The normally stoic judge, who is also an advocate for children, showed some emotion while giving her sentence.

“I know that you live with your parents. I know that your mom is going through a rough time. I know that your grandmother is going through a rough time and that you are support for them. But I’m sure this little girl that you have is also bringing them a lot of joy and is making them wanting to stay around for a long, long time,” Lafrance-Cardinal said, her voice wavering.

She said “this would usually warrant” a true jail sentence, but given the circumstances, she agreed with a conditional sentence.

Tessier will also be on probation for two years after her sentence is completed.

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