Justin Chipman on trial for assaulting police officers at MUN
Justin Chipman went on trial on Monday for eight charges of assaulting police officers at Memorial University last February. Four of those charges were assault with an SUV.
Chipman was arrested after an unusual incident in which a shot was fired on campus, near the Field House recreational complex.
Court was told that on Feb. 18, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had the parking lot near the Field House under surveillance under Operation Hoodwink.
The police were looking for people breaking into cars and Justin Chipman was one of their suspects.
He is accused of driving into the parking lot, breaking the window of a Toyota and then stealing a laptop, USBs and a computer.
Video footage shows that the SUV Chipman was driving got stuck in a snow bank.
An officer tried to get into the car. However, Chipman was able to get away, but not before an officer fired at the SUV.
Chipman's lawyer, Ken Mahoney, said the charges should be thrown out because his client's Charter rights were violated.
Mahoney said the police used excessive force against Chipman by ramming the car he was in and by shooting at him.
A photo of a bullet graze on Chipman's chest was shown at the trial.
Chipman's defence also claims the police conducted an illegal search at Chipman's home later that night after the incident.
Meanwhile, Chipman pleaded guilty on Monday to stealing the laptop and other items. He also pleaded guilty to using a stolen vehicle —the SUV — that night and being in possession of another stolen vehicle in January.
Chipman's trial will continue on Wednesday.
With files from Glenn Payette