PEI

'Screen cutter' trial underway in Charlottetown

The trial of Richard Joseph Arsenault, charged in a string of burglaries in Stratford, Charlottetown and Cornwall over a 17-month period, started Tuesday.

Crown opens case with video of RCMP interview with accused

Richard Joseph Arsenault leaves Charlottetown court after his arrest on Aug. 16. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The trial of Richard Joseph Arsenault, charged in a string of burglaries in Stratford, Charlottetown and Cornwall over a 17-month period, started Tuesday.

The trial is expected to be a long one, with the Crown opening its case with a six-hour video of an RCMP interview with Arsenault shot after his arrest.

There could be as many as 40 witnesses called, including victims and police officers.

The burglaries came to be known as the screen cutter investigation after the method entry used in some of the break-ins. Arsenault is accused of committing burglaries between March 2015 and August 2016.

Arsenault, of Travellers Rest outside of Summerside, has been in custody since his arrest in August. He faces a total of 17 charges.

  • Break and enter (10 counts)
  • Prowling at night (2 counts)
  • Wearing a mask (4 counts)
  • Possession of break-in instruments (1 count)

Arsenault and his wife are also charged with possession of the proceeds of crime, but that charge is not currently part of this trial.

Known for charity work

On the video RCMP acknowledge Arsenault's good reputation, which includes doing charity work at his boxing club.

Police in the video then go on to accuse Arsenault of being involved in 24 break and enters on P.E.I. and 14 in New Brunswick, which he denies.

Arsenault is on trial for 10 alleged break-ins.

The viewing of the video is expected to continue into the afternoon.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said Arsenault faced 5 counts of possession of break-in instruments. In fact, he faced 1 count for possession of break-in instruments and 4 counts of wearing a mask with intent to commit an indictable offense.
    Dec 13, 2016 1:42 PM AT

With files from Brian Higgins

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