Nova Scotia

Man pleads guilty to weapons charge in relation to N.S. mass shooting

One of three people accused of supplying ammunition to the man responsible for killing 22 people in April 2020 has pleaded guilty to a single charge.

James Banfield is the brother of the gunman's common-law partner

A memorial set up in Portapique, N.S. after the mass shooting in 2020. (Héloise Rodriguez-Qizilbash/CBC)

One of three people accused of supplying ammunition to the man responsible for killing 22 people in a Nova Scotia shooting rampage in April 2020 has pleaded guilty to a single charge.

James Banfield, 65, is the brother of Lisa Banfield, the gunman's common-law partner.

The siblings, along with Brian Brewser, 61, are accused of supplying Gabriel Wortman with ammunition prior to the killings.

A lawyer for James Banfield appeared in Nova Scotia provincial court Friday to enter a guilty plea on a charge of transfer without authority.

Banfield's Friday court appearance was not scheduled. In fact, his case was supposed to be heard in a three-day trial set for next week.

However, given restrictions imposed on Nova Scotia courts because of the pandemic, it's not clear whether the trial would have been able to proceed. Most in-person proceedings have been suspended until at least the end of this month.

James Banfield is now scheduled to be sentenced on June 1.

Brewster is scheduled to go to trial in July of this year while Lisa Banfield's trial is scheduled for March.

The three are alleged to have provided Wortman with .223-calibre Remington cartridges and .40-calibre Smith & Wesson cartridges in the month leading up to the massacre that started in Portapique, N.S.

When RCMP announced the charges in December 2020, the force said in a news release that the three had no knowledge of what Wortman would do on April 18 and 19, 2020.

That weekend, he killed 22 neighbours, acquaintances and strangers in several communities while masquerading as an RCMP officer.

He torched his own cottage, garage and other homes over a 13-hour period before being shot dead by police at a gas station in Enfield, N.S.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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