09/25/2014 01:53 EDT | Updated 11/25/2014 05:59 EST

B.C. man who tried to peddle stolen boat to Mounties avoids jail sentence

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A man convicted of trying to peddle a stolen ski boat to undercover Mounties won’t go to jail — despite a lengthy criminal record that includes similar offences.

Kevin Peel, 49, was convicted in June of trafficking in stolen property and handed a conditional sentence.

Crown lawyer Tim Livingston asked B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Donegan for a sentence of nine months to a year, arguing Peel has racked up property and drug-trafficking offences in the past and that the behaviour needs to be deterred by putting him behind bars.

RCMP were alerted by the boat’s rightful owner, a Calgary firefighter who saw his former boat advertised online.

It went missing from a Peachland condo parking lot months earlier.

"This is a profit-motivated offence,” Livingston said, adding Peel admitted during testimony that he regularly lied when selling cars, boats and motorcycles and that he cheated the government out of property-purchase taxes.

“He has no qualms about making money dishonestly.”

However, Donegan sided with defence lawyer Sheldon Tate, who argued it’s been 13 years since Peel’s last offence.

Peel said he has also discontinued buying and selling vehicles, known as curbing, and is working as a surveyor until he gets on with a pipeline contractor.

Tate also argued the attempted sale was unsophisticated because Peel took no steps to change the boat’s appearance.

When she convicted him of the offence, Donegan said Peel was “wilfully blind” to the fact that the boat was stolen.

Character-reference letters for Peel were also entered, including from his two stepchildren, aged 10 and 13, who pleaded with the judge not to send their single-parent father to jail.

“I’m not sentencing you for your underhanded business practices,” Donegan told Peel, stressing she was only concerned with his most-recent conviction and past record.

Donegan gave Peel credit for getting out of the business that has comprised his livelihood for most of his adult life.

He will serve an 18-month conditional sentence, including 12 months of house arrest, during which he can only leave for work or other compelling reasons.

Peel also cannot buy and sell vehicles for profit during the period, other than to transfer his current fleet out of his name and into the name of his spouse for possible sale. (Kamloops This Week)