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Stand-off suspect was afraid of police

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 | 6:02 pm

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By Joe Fries

Ronald MacPherson said a fear of trigger-happy cops kept him locked into an armed stand-off with police last summer in Peachland that dragged on for seven hours.

Testifying this afternoon at his own trial on charges of assault and pointing a firearm at the woman with whom he lived on June 22, 2009, MacPherson said a bombshell two days prior at the inquiry into the death of Robert Dziekanski was still fresh in his mind.

Indeed, the Braidwood Inquiry was suspended June 20, 2009, after an internal RCMP e-mail revealed the officers who Tasered the Polish immigrant at Vancouver International Airport had agreed beforehand they would use that weapon to subdue their target, who died as a result.

MacPherson testified that he feared a similar fate on the night in question, given that Mounties had been told he had pointed a gun at his alleged victim, Denise Robillard.

The self-described outdoorsman and gun collector said he turned out all the lights in the home so as not to present a target to cops, and also refused to venture outside in the dark to leave the gun for police.

“I’m not going out in the dark as a target. I didn’t trust anyone,” he said.

MacPherson eventually agreed to give himself up shortly before 5 a.m. the next day.

In his testimony today, he flatly denied the gun and assault allegations.

He admitted that he grabbed his firearm after Robillard told him to leave her house, and put it with the rest of his things in the living room, but denied walking into her room and pointing it at her.

MacPherson also said that while he never punched Robillard on the chin as she suggested, he did reach out his right hand with two knuckles extended to her chin “to prevent her from being able to swing at me anymore.” That, he said, happened after she struck him under his left eye with a TV remote.

A photo submitted as an exhibit at trial showed an ugly bruise where MacPherson said he was hit, while the police officer who took a statement from Robillard that night testified that she didn’t see any marks on Robillard’s face, so no photos were taken.

MacPherson said he had the gun in case he wanted to go hunting, but didn’t have any ammo in the house, even though his alleged victim said she saw him loading the weapon.

In his final submission, defence counsel Stan Tessmer cast doubt on the woman’s story, particularly where she said she wanted to fight back against the gun-wielding MacPherson.

“As if any woman would attack a man with what she thought was a loaded gun,” Tessmer snapped.

Crown counsel Norm Yates countered that Robillard had “no reason or motive to make that up,” while MacPehrson “had every self-serving reason to deny that’s what happened.”

The trial resumed today with an application from Tessmer to have the gun charge dropped due to lack of evidence stemming from Robillard’s testimony. The woman on Monday did not identify the firearm when showed a picture of it and described it as a sawed-off shotgun, when it was in fact a long-barrelled shotgun, though one that could be broken down into two pieces.

Judge Jane Cartwright noted that Robillard is not a “professional” when it comes to guns, and allowed the charge to stand. The Crown did not, however, proceed on two obstruction charges.

A decision on the assault and gun charges is expected next month.


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