Scott Waterman, a Flatrock businessman who bought four stun guns and some pepper spray at a flea market in Florida, has been given house arrest for trying to smuggle them into Canada.

Waterman was on vacation in Florida when he came across the products and decided to buy them.

He arranged to have them shipped back to Newfoundland, even though the items are prohibited weapons. 

The packaging slip said that the contents were glass ornaments, but when customs officials in Montreal used an X-ray machine to scan the box, they thought the contents looked metallic. 

Waterman shipped package to aunt in Torbay

Eventually, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was brought in to manage what is called a controlled delivery to the address — for Waterman's aunt, who lives in Torbay — that was on the label.

When confronted about the stun guns, Waterman initially told police that they were novelty flashlights.

In St. John's provincial court on Monday, Waterman conceded he knew all along what they were. "I was just stupid. Pretty wrong what I did," he told the court.

Judge Lori Marshall said several factors were involved in accepting a sentencing recommendation that will see Waterman serve a year's house arrest, as well as 18 months' probation.

Marshall noted that Waterman accepted his guilt, and that he has no related criminal offences. The owner of three small businesses, Waterman was also cited as a productive member of society.

Marshall also noted Waterman's guilty plea saved the Crown a lot of money by avoiding a trial, and by not having to bring witnesses in from Montreal.

With files from Glenn Payette