Harry Richardson was found guilty on four counts at the Nelson Courthouse on Monday after a 2019 standoff with police. File photo

Harry Richardson was found guilty on four counts at the Nelson Courthouse on Monday after a 2019 standoff with police. File photo

Man who fired at RCMP officers in rural Kootenays found guilty on 4 charges

But a judge ruled Harry Richardson was innocent of attempted murder

A man who broke into a rural Kootenay home in October 2019 and fired on RCMP officers has been found guilty on four charges, but avoided two counts of attempted murder.

Judge Philip Seagram brought an end to the weeks-long trial in a Nelson provincial courtroom by finding Harry Richardson guilty Monday on charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, careless use of a firearm, unlawfully in a dwelling-house, and unlawful attempt to cause bodily harm.

Richardson had already previously plead guilty to resisting arrest.

But it was on two counts of attempted murder against RCMP officers, one of whom was shot by Richardson, that Seagram sided with the defendant.

Crown counsel Rebecca Smyth said she thought the verdict was fair.

“The decision was well reasoned and was consistent with the law and the facts,” said Smyth, “and all the facts the court relied upon to coming to that decision were justified and supported by the evidence.”

The incident, which featured 22 shots fired at police and an overnight standoff, shook Argenta, the small West Kootenay community located north of Kaslo.

Richardson was arrested on Oct. 11, 2019 after an overnight standoff.

The owner of 1221 Argenta Road was away, but a local resident looking after the house suspected someone was inside. When she called the residence, a man picked up and refused to leave. He told her police were hunting him, and that he had three guns. A double-barrel shotgun, a .22 calibre rifle and seven millimetre firearm were later discovered in the building.

The resident called RCMP, and it was at approximately 7 p.m. when Const. Shaun Kennedy and reserve Const. Darryl Hammond arrived.

Kennedy previously testified he had pursued Richardson in September for two outstanding arrest warrants.

Richardson popped out a window screen on the second floor to greet the officers, who told him he was being arrested. He then dropped gasoline out of the front window, tried to light it with a match and opened fire on the officers.

Hammond was later hit in his right hand, forearm and upper arm. The Crown had argued that warranted an attempted murder verdict, but Seagram said there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest Richardson intended to kill Hammond.

However, Seagram did change the charge to an attempt to cause bodily harm, which he found Richardson guilty of.

Richardson had also faced an attempted murder charge for firing at another officer, but Seagram said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove either intent to kill or how close the shots were. Seagram did however note Richardson fired at least 22 shots from the home, while police did not return fire once.

The standoff ended at dawn when Richardson slid down a rope from the second storey window only to be arrested in the nearby forest.

Smyth said she hopes the end of the trial provides some peace to Argenta residents.

“This was a very significant event for any community, in particular a small rural community like Argenta,” said Smyth. “The impact on that community has been evidenced by the local interest in it and the attendants in court with respect to watching the proceedings, which have been fairly lengthy.”

The prolonged trial that began in January was essentially a one-sided argument by the prosecution. The Crown called 36 witnesses, 34 of whom were officers. Richardson represented himself and called no witnesses or offered any evidence in his defence.

On Monday, Richardson said little from a cell at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver where he joined by video conference.

Although he was found not guilty on the two counts of attempted murder, Richardson will likely be sentenced to several years in jail. Canada’s criminal code says the mandatory minimum sentence for reckless discharge of a firearm is four years.

No date was set Monday for sentencing.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)
Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read