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Summer stand-off in Peachland ends with acquittals in Kelowna

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 | 4:28 pm

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By Joe Fries

Moments after Ronald MacPherson was acquitted on charges relating to an armed standoff with police last summer in Peachland, he told reporters the woman who initially phoned cops on him acted out of “nothing but spite.”

Kelowna provincial court Judge Jane Cartwright ruled this afternoon that the Crown didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges of assault and pointing a firearm.

“I’m just glad it’s over in my favour,” said MacPherson, a long-haul trucker. “I’ve been going over this since June, waiting.”

The incident commenced around 10 p.m. on June 22, 2009, when cops were called to a domestic dispute that featured a man with a gun inside a home on Highway 97 South in Peachland. Police were told he pointed it at Denise Robillard, the woman with whom MacPherson lived, and that he may use it to kill himself.

The two had a previous romantic relationship, and Robillard, who was preparing to leave town for a funeral, wanted MacPherson out of the house that night, which prompted the dispute.

As it turned out, she wasn’t being held against her will and walked out of the house early on to grab cigarettes from her car. When she did, she was grabbed by Mounties who had begun to stake out the home.

MacPherson, however, said he was afraid of being shot by police and only surrendered after dawn broke the next day. During the stand-off, the highway was closed over public safety concerns and police called in a negotiator to help with the situation.

Robillard testified that MacPherson pointed a shotgun at her head after she ordered him to leave the house. She said she saw him load the firearm, and that he later punched her on the chin. Her version of events changed between the initial statement she gave police that night and one she gave police three months later, which more closely matched her testimony at trial.

MacPherson, who was 56 at the time of the stand-off, vehemently denied all the charges. He said Robillard instigated the fight and that he only grabbed his gun to put it with his things as he prepared to leave the house. He was also the only one with evidence of physical injury to his face, allegedly at the hands of Robillard.

Among the reasons Judge Cartwright cited for her verdict were inconsistencies in Robillard’s testimony and actions, along with testimony from RCMP officers who said there was no visible mark on Robillard’s chin where she said she was punched, and that no shotgun ammunition was found in the house.

The judge added that MacPherson’s failure to leave the home was “quite uncalled for and over-dramatic.”

Two other obstruction of justice charges against MacPherson were stayed at trial by the judge after Crown counsel Norm Yates declined to call evidence on them. Defence counsel Stan Tessmer said the Crown prosecutor seemed to suggest one is obligated to leave his home when told to do so.

“But there is no such duty,” Tessmer said. “Everybody is entitled to stay in the security of their own home.”

Summer stand-off in Peachland ends with acquittals in Kelowna2.051

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2 Responses to “Summer stand-off in Peachland ends with acquittals in Kelowna”

  1. VICTOR says:
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    i’m sorry but if i have nothing to hide or guilty of i’m
    going to be helpful to the police and not take 7 hours to do it and if robillard lied in her statement or perjured herself on the stand should the DA NOT BE CHARGING HER WITH SOMETHING

  2. Dan Lupichuk says:
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    Comments on this story do not reflect reality as it is:: 1) “if i have nothing to hide or not guilty i’m going to be helpful to police” This statement must be from someone who knows nothing about the current firearms laws. All aspects of the firearms laws are reverse onus which means…GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT… 2) it is extremely easy in any kind of a dispute for someone to say they were threatened with a firearm and the reaction from law enforcement is immediate and extreme…(at the risk of sounding sexist, this is a very big lever for a woman to use to further her own agenda. I know this sounds bad but statistics bear out that many more cases of females using this than males)….. police have to react when a firearm is said to be involved but their reaction does not have to be so extreme without more information than ‘he said or she said’…. 3) was the fellows fear of police action justified….take a look at the history of police actions in the last five or so years and judge for yourself…..4) will there be any repercussions for the false statements that led to this getting so blown out of proportion; probably not, unless the fellow spends more of his after tax dollars to pursue it….5)Police have one purpose and agenda…charge someone with something; that is what they get paid the big bucks for; it does not matter to them who or with what but the more charges they can lay the more likelihood of a conviction on something…..6) statement from a police officer..when not entirely sure he will lay charges, the courts will sort it out or the individual will plead guilty……..Wonderful situation and attitude: everything from the crown’s side is paid for by the taxpayer; everything on the defendant’s side must be paid with his own after tax dollars..when one proves themselves not guilty, there is no mechanism in place to compensate them for the wrongs they have suffered, other than more of their own after tax dollars to pursue this……no matter how one looks at it Joe P. Public loses::: Whatever has happened to our once proud, just and greatly respected police forces?

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