Nfld. & Labrador

Kurt Churchill's trial for uttering threats postponed after lawyer steps down

Though he has not been named publicly as a suspect, police have focused their attention on Kurt Churchill's home for the James Cody homicide investigation.

Though he's not named as a suspect, police have focused on Churchill's home in homicide investigation

Kurt Churchill is seen following his 2014 arrest in Operation Battalion. He would later be acquitted after his lawyer filed an application about unfair trial delays. (CBC)

The trial of a St. John's man once acquitted in a large drug operation has been postponed because his longtime lawyer has stepped down.

St. John's lawyer Erin Breen told provincial court Judge Mike Madden on Tuesday morning she filed an application to remove herself as Kurt Churchill's counsel. She did not have to provide a reason. 

Churchill did not appear in court for the matter.

Churchill, 43, was set to stand trial for allegedly uttering threats to cause death or injury against an officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. Court documents indicate the offence is alleged to have occurred on March 24, 2019.

He was released on conditions, including to reside at his home at 40 Craigmillar Ave., and to notify police if his address changes. He is also required to remain away from the Martini Bar on George Street, and to not possess firearms or any other prohibited weapon.

Churchill will now be represented by Corner Brook lawyer Robby Ash. The trial is now expected to begin Sept. 14. 

James Cody's red Jeep was left outside 40 Craigmillar Ave. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

Churchill's home has been the focal point of a homicide investigation into the shooting death of James Cody, 47, in the early morning hours of July 5.

Breen has represented both Cody and Churchill in the past for their drug matters. Both men had unrelated drug trafficking charges tossed due to unfair trial delays.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has remained tight-lipped over its investigation into Cody's death. However, lead officer Supt. Tom Warren told reporters last week that they have identified suspects.

Cody's body was discovered lying in the middle of Craigmillar Avenue, shortly after 4 a.m. His red Jeep Cherokee was left parked on the wrong side of the road with the driver's side door ajar, near Churchill's home.

RNC forensic officers as well as a police dog had been seen surveying and photographing the outside of the home in the days following Cody's death.

To date, no one has been charged, and the RNC has not publicly named any suspects. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.