Julie Lynn Gaudet made the news in January when she was sentenced to 30 days in jail for possession of a handgun for a purpose dangerous to the public peace. It was the latest in a long line of convictions for the 40-year-old woman who suffers from mental health issues and addiction.
On September 21, 2019, while using a bank machine at the Bank of Montreal in the Charlottetown Mall, a BB gun fell out of her purse and landed on the ground. A startled customer called the police and Gaudet was arrested.
In addition to the weapons dangerous charge, Gaudet was also charged with violating her existing firearm prohibition order, the result of a previous conviction.
Her realistic-looking toy is not a firearm, as defined in the Firearms Act. However, under Canadian law, toys, replicas of firearms and BB guns are considered real guns under certain circumstances, such as carrying a concealed weapon for self-defence.
“When we get these things, we don’t know if they are real or fake until we get there so we have to act accordingly. We have to act like this person had a real handgun,” said Charlottetown Police Corporal David Flynn.
“We are always concerned when firearms are involved, in any call, for the safety of the public and our officers, especially considering what happened in Fredericton and what happened in Moncton,” he added, referencing two mass shootings.
Gaudet’s lawyer, Alex Dalton, said the reason his client carried the replica is she feared for her life. She’s been the victim of domestic violence, both from family members and intimate partners, and lost one eye during one such assault “several years ago.”
“This is a very unique case as to why she had the weapon. It’s not an excuse, but there’s a context as to why she had it,” Dalton told the court.
“Anybody who thinks they’re entitled to carry a gun is mistaken,” said Judge Nancy Orr. “That gun looked realistic.”
Judge Orr also prohibited Julie Gaudet from possessing weapons for another 10 years. She was already under a Firearms Prohibition Order from a prior conviction.
In April 2014, Julie Lynn Gaudet was sentenced to eight months for stabbing a man she was in an intimate relationship with during an argument over drugs.
According to The Guardian, Gaudet has a lengthy violent criminal record, including another conviction for assault last year.
The Chronicle-Herald described the events leading to Gaudet’s desire to carry a gun for self-defence.
In December 2016 Gaudet was viciously assaulted by her then boyfriend Thomas Peter Argon after the pair decided to spend the night at the Charlottetown Inn and Convention Centre to celebrate completing 30 days of detox by enjoying a good bender together.
They consumed beer, vodka and Valium pills. Argon proceeded to batter Gaudet beyond recognition and trashed the couple’s hotel room.
He was sentenced to 12 months for aggravated assault against Gaudet, who had to be put on a ventilator at the hospital, had lacerations under both eyes, several lacerations on her lips and bruising throughout her face.
She also had a large hematoma on her scalp and has suffered permanent loss of sight in one eye.
One of the problems Julie Gaudet faced, as do all women in violent domestic situations, is police cannot do anything until someone actually breaks the law.
Given her past experience, it’s understandable why she didn’t want to end up in the intensive care ward again.
Whatever her mental health and addiction issues are, Julie Lynn Gaudet was stuck between a rock and a hard place – either obey the law and potentially end up seriously wounded again or worse, dead, or break the law and carry a concealed weapon to defend herself.
No woman should have to make that decision.