Mounties investigating how RNC handled MUN shooting

Justin Chipman, the target of a police bullet at February's notorious shooting at Memorial University, walked out of court a free man Tuesday, after serving about a month and a half in custody.

Justin Chipman a free man as judge scolds police for how they handled February incident

Justin Chipman was handed a sentence of time served, about a month and a half, after Judge Lois Skanes said the officer who shot at Chipman during Februray's MUN Shooing used excessive force. (CBC)

Justin Chipman, the target of a police bullet at February's notorious shooting at Memorial University, walked out of court a free man Tuesday, after serving about a month and a half in custody.

Meanwhile, the chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary said he is now waiting for the findings of an RCMP investigation into how his officers acted during the incident, in which officers confronted Chipman during an investigation into break-ins at cars parked outside a recreation complex. 

"From the date of the initial incident we have asked the RCMP to do a full and independent investigation of the RNC response," said Chief Bill Janes in a brief statement to CBC News.

"We are still awaiting the results of that investigation," he said.

Chipman had been at the centre of the incident outside the Field House on Feb. 18.

The RNC said they had known that Chipman had been stealing from cars, so they staked him out.

The stakeout turned into a violent police chase followed by an RNC officer taking a shot at Chipman.

Before Chipman fled the scene, a bullet shot by Const. Dustin Spurrell grazed Chipman's chest. Spurrell having said he shot because Chipman was charging at him in an SUV.
The scene outside MUN's Fieldhouse on Feb. 18. RNC Const. Dustin Spurrell shot one bullet at Justin Chipman. The bullet grazed Chipman's chest. (CBC)

At one point Chipman faced tough jail time —as many as 14 counts of assault, theft, possession of stolen property and property damage— in relation to the incident on the St. John's campus.

However, Judge Lois Skanes dismissed the evidence for the assault charges against Chipman as unconvincing.

Skanes also ruled that the officer who shot at Chipman used excessive force and breached Chipman's rights, for which she said she would reduce his sentence.

While the Crown had asked for a three-month sentence, Chipman's defence were asking for probation.

In the end Skanes handed Chipman a sentence of time served, or about half of what the Crown had wanted.

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