Fire officer Fabian Oliver Thompson was found guilty on Monday of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest. He was remanded in custody until June 1 for sentencing.
The charge against him arose from an incident in January 2016. Thompson, now 34, first appeared in Summary Court in May 2016. On bail, he later pleaded not guilty and elected trial by judge alone.
Justice Malcolm Swift began hearing evidence last week and delivered his verdict on Monday morning. He indicated he could infer the intent to resist arrest from the fact that Thompson had run from police.
The evidence included a video from a Taser gun showing Thompson from the back. Taser wires are seen going into his body and he falls, rolls over, gets up and continues to run. He is apparently carrying something in his right hand.
Defense attorney Prathna Bodden and senior Crown counsel Nicole Petit agreed on how the incident started.
On Jan. 20, 2016, uniformed police officers attended a Bodden Town residence to conduct a search under the Misuse of Drugs Law following the arrest of the defendant’s brother, who was in custody at the time.
Thompson was not the subject of the search.
Various officers gave evidence of their roles in the operation. The court heard that Thompson was in the house when police arrived and he left through the front door, carrying a pair of jeans, while one of the officers spoke with his father. One of the officers shouted “Search him,” but as Thompson made his way past, no one stopped him.
After he made his way to another part of the yard, an officer instructed him to stop, but he went over a fence.
It was at that point that one of the officers said he saw the defendant remove an object from his pants pocket and the officer thought it was a 9mm pistol.
The Taser was subsequently deployed.
Thompson ran through thick bush and got away, but turned himself in on Jan. 26. He was later interviewed and gave a prepared statement, saying he did not have anything in his waistband.
Ms. Bodden argued on Friday that there was no case to answer because all of the elements of the charge had not been sufficiently proved.
She submitted that police officers had not provided a description of what they thought they saw. No item had been seized and nothing had been found.
Referring to the video played in court, Justice Swift asked, “Am I entitled to take into account my own observations?”
Ms. Bodden agreed that he would be, since he was sitting as judge and jury.
Ms. Bodden then argued that being in possession of an imitation firearm is not an offense unless a person is using it to commit an offense. Thompson had said he did not have any intent to commit an offense.
Justice Swift indicated he would like to hear further argument on intent, and both counsel said they would submit further material over the weekend.
After his verdict, the judge said he would provide a full written judgment.