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Corner Brook judge hears differing opinions on firearms prohibition application

A hearing was held in provincial court in Corner Brook on Wednesday on an application brought forth by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police seeking an order to prohibit Robert Park from having in his possession any firearm, cross-bow, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance for a period of time not exceeding five years.
Robert Park is shown in provincial court in Corner Brook in this file photo - Star file photo

The provincial Crown agreed on Friday with a Corner Brook judge’s suggestion that section 491 (1.b.) of the Criminal Code would be more appropriate in dealing with an application for a firearms prohibition and disposition of the firearms noted in the request.

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The application put forward by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under section 490 is seeking that Robert Park be prohibited from possessing firearms for a period of five years and that the firearms seized when he was arrested following a standoff at his home in McIvers in February 2017 be destroyed.

Park was found not criminally responsible for his crimes in August 2017 and is currently at the Waterford Hospital in St. John’s, where he appeared from via videoconference.

During an earlier appearance, Judge Kymil Howe asked the Crown and Park’s lawyer, Gary Kearney, to consider a change to the code section listed.

On Friday morning Crown attorney Adam Sparkes said he agreed that section 491 would be the more appropriate section.

He reiterated the Crown’s position that the firearms prohibition should be put in place and the firearms forfeited and disposed of.

Sparkes suggested that Kearney would argue a finding of being not criminally responsible is not a finding that an offence had been committed.

Sparkes said if no offence is committed a person can’t be found not criminally responsible.

Sparkes said there is some evidence that two of the seven firearms seized may be owned by Park’s father. While the Crown asked that all be forfeited and destroyed he said if Howe finds that two of the guns are not owned by Park that they not be returned to his Park’s father because he doesn’t possess a valid firearms possession or acquisitions certificate.

Kearney said what Sparkes suggests is that being found not criminally responsible there is still a finding that Park committed the offence.
He argued that was not correct.

He said the court found that the actus reus was present, but committing an offence means performing the actus reus with the appropriate mens rea.

“Then because the accused is found not criminally responsible, that essential part of the offence was not found to be present therefore he did not commit an offence.”

Howe will render her decision on the application on Sept. 4, the same day that Park is scheduled for a review hearing on his detention with the Mental Health Review Board.

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