Nova Scotia

Man who led police on Bridgewater chase appears in court

Tobias Doucette appeared briefly in Bridgewater provincial court Monday, nearly a week after allegedly stabbing an officer in the neck and assaulting his common-law partner. Doucette evaded police for five days before he was arrested Saturday.

Police say another citizen hurt as Tobias Doucette ran away following stabbing

Bridgewater Provincial Court in Nova Scotia on August 17, 2016. (Brett Ruskin/CBC)

The man who evaded police in Bridgewater for nearly a week after allegedly stabbing an officer and assaulting his common-law partner was in court Monday to face multiple charges, including attempted murder.

Tobias Doucette appeared briefly in Bridgewater provincial court via video link for his arraignment, and had his matter moved ahead to Thursday. No plea was entered.

He is charged with escaping custody, attempted murder, assault, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, theft by person holding power of attorney, injuring or endangering an animal, and two counts of possession of a weapon for dangerous purposes.

Lawyers waiting for more information

Bob Chipman, Doucette's lawyer, said outside court Monday that he'd had very limited contact with his client over the phone before the hearing.

He said it will take some time to get a handle on the case and get further instructions from Doucette. 

Chipman said Doucette "obviously looked tired" but didn't have any further comment about how his client was feeling.

Doucette will remain in custody at the Central Nova Correctional Facility in Burnside on remand until bail is eventually determined, Crown lawyer Bryson McDonald told reporters.

Between now and Thursday, McDonald said they hope to get more disclosure from police. That information will be sent to Alonzo Wright, the Crown prosecutor handling the case.

Doucette, who is from Cape Breton but living in Bridgewater, was found and arrested in the Hebbville area just south of the town shortly after midnight Saturday. 

He led town police and RCMP on a five-day search after allegedly assaulting his common-law partner in a Bridgewater hotel the night of July 20.

When police arrived, they said Doucette stabbed Sgt. Matthew Bennett in the neck and fled the scene wearing black shorts and no shoes or shirt.

Police say Doucette injured another man

Bridgewater's deputy police chief, Danny MacPhee, offered on Monday more details about how the investigation unfolded last week.

He said Bennett responded to the initial domestic violence call with three other Bridgewater municipal officers.

When they tried to make contact with Doucette, MacPhee said he "blindsided" Bennett by striking him in the neck with a knife.

MacPhee also said they recently found out another man was injured by Doucette.

"I believe he either swiped at, or pushed, somebody when he was fleeing the scene," MacPhee said, adding the man's injuries were minor.

Danny MacPhee, Bridgewater deputy police chief, speaks to reporters on July 27, 2020. (Robert Short/CBC)

MacPhee said they quickly set up a large perimeter around the Bridgewater area with the help of RCMP. There were many tips that came in from the public about Doucette's whereabouts, including one of him in the LaHave River that led to a short foot chase where he stabbed a police dog, MacPhee said.

But although RCMP checked out tips from people across Nova Scotia, MacPhee said he's confident they "locked down this region" and Doucette never left the area.

Doucette has told police about a few locations where he may have stayed during the search, MacPhee said.

When asked if Doucette described local campers or sheds, MacPhee said that was not the case since they were "open areas."

Both Bennett and the police dog, Fergus, are recovering.

With files from Preston Mulligan