Pot-smoking Mountie Ron Francis facing 3 more charges
RCMP officer pleads not guilty to assaulting 2 fellow Mounties, breaching court undertaking
A New Brunswick Mountie who made headlines for smoking medical marijuana while in uniform is facing three new charges and says he plans to sue the RCMP over the way he has been treated.
Cpl. Ron Francis pleaded not guilty on Friday in Fredericton provincial court to two counts of assaulting fellow officers in Oromocto on Jan. 12 and breaching an undertaking to not possess or consume alcohol and non-prescription drugs.
Francis previously pleaded not guilty to assaulting two fellow officers and one count of resisting arrest, stemming from an alleged confrontation with fellow RCMP officers and Fredericton police officers who arrested him on Dec. 6 on a mental health warrant.
He is scheduled to stand trial on those charges on Sept. 3.
Francis, who suffers from work-induced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has a prescription for medical-grade marijuana, told reporters outside the courthouse he plans to file a civil suit against the RCMP.
He contends the national police force needs to change its policies and provide more resources to officers. He hopes a lawsuit will help, he said, adding he has not yet retained a civil lawyer.
The RCMP had told Francis he could not smoke his medical marijuana in uniform or in public.
The 21-year veteran of the RCMP had publicly argued he should be able to smoke the drug in uniform.
Francis, a Maliseet from Kingsclear First Nation, arrived at court on Friday carrying a ceremonial feather.
His criminal defence lawyer, T. J. Burke, asked for a hearing on whether a court order to surrender his firearms includes his possession of a crossbow.
Burke said he may argue a Constitutional challenge based on Francis' aboriginal right to hunt.
Francis, who served the RCMP's J Division in Fredericton, was previously found fit to stand trial following a 30-day psychiatric assessment.
His lawyer has previously questioned the RCMP's motives for seeking a psychiatric assessment of his client. Burke questioned whether the RCMP were trying to stop Francis from taking his case to the media again.
Francis has previously accused the RCMP of trying to force members with PTSD to quit.
In January, the RCMP offered to send him to the Sunshine Coast Health Centre, a treatment facility in Powell River, B.C., for three months, footing the estimated $60,000 bill.
Francis agreed to go, but left after three days because he said he couldn't get settled and felt he was being watched.
Francis remains free in the community on conditions until his trial.