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

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Probe into TNRD spending taken over by federal police unit

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

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
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

File photo
Stolen Alberta vehicle found in flames in Blue River

Local RCMP also attended house fire evening of May 2.

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read