PEI

Ex-Mountie claims police violated his rights

The lawyer for 43-year-old Jeffrey Rae Gillis, a former P.E.I. RCMP officer facing weapons charges, argued on the opening day of Gillis's trial that police violated his rights.

Lawyer for former Mountie argues police violated charter rights

Jeffrey Rae Gillis has pleaded not guilty to all weapons charges. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The lawyer for 43-year-old Jeffrey Rae Gillis, a former P.E.I. RCMP officer facing weapons charges, argued on the opening day of Gillis's trial that police violated his rights.

Gillis has pleaded not guilty to 12 charges including possession of prohibited weapons, breach of trust by a police officer and making false statements to a peace officer.

Court heard Monday that the charges stem from an incident last February, in which Charlottetown police responded to a 911 call alleging Gillis had assaulted someone.

Police seized what they said was a cache of more than 70 firearms from Gillis's home.

The Serious Incident Response Team, or SiRT, from Halifax was eventually called in, and that's where police potentially violated the charter of rights, according to Gillis's lawyer.

Defence lawyer T. J. Burke says police acted in good faith, but the investigation was "subverted" by misuse of search warrants. (Brian Higgins/CBC News)

"Charlottetown police seized the guns for purposes of public safety," defence lawyer T.J. Burke told CBC News,

"When SiRT stepped in, they subverted the process into a criminal investigation. That should not have happened."

Officers from both SiRT and Charlottetown police testified Monday, answering questions about how the decision was made to begin a criminal investigation in connection with the weapons.

Police obtained proper warrants and acted within the law, Crown prosecutor Gerald Quinn told the court.

Trial to run 5 weeks

The trial is slated to run five weeks.

Judge Jeff Lantz is scheduled to rule on the charter argument Feb. 10.

Gillis is currently serving a 30-day sentence for the assault he committed last February when police were first called.

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