Politics

Corey Hurren pleads guilty to 8 charges tied to Rideau Hall incident

The Canadian Forces reservist who pleaded guilty today to eight charges related to his storming the gates of Rideau Hall last summer wanted to make a statement to the prime minister by showing up at one of his daily media briefings, the court heard.

Manitoba reservist wanted to arrest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The RCMP charged Corey Hurren on July 3, 2020 with 22 charges linked to the Rideau Hall security incident the day before. (Corey Hurren/LinkedIn)

The Canadian Forces reservist who pleaded guilty today to eight charges related to his storming the gates of Rideau Hall with loaded firearms last summer wanted to make a statement to the prime minister by showing up at one of his daily media briefings, the court heard.

Corey Hurren, 46, originally had 22 charges laid against him, but pleaded guilty to eight charges in an Ottawa courtroom on Friday.

The Manitoba resident pleaded guilty to seven weapon related charges, including possessing guns for "a purpose dangerous to the public peace."

The court heard how he had left a note for his family and a few friends stating he could not cope with the restrictions of COVID-19, the financial loss sustained due to the closure of his business and the recent firearm ban and felt that Canada was now under a communist dictatorship.

According to the agreed statement of facts read out in the courtroom, after crashing his truck Hurren was observed on surveillance video on the morning of July 2, arming himself with a number of firearms before setting out on foot.

An officer approached him near the grounds' greenhouse and asked Hurren to place his weapon on the ground.

Hurren refused and said he would not disarm, according to the statement.

The officer persisted but Hurren said,  "I can't do that."

Eventually another officer joined and noted that Hurren had a shotgun in his right hand, pointed at the ground and a second shotgun slung on his back. A long rifle lay on the ground, said the statement.

According to the charges read out loud in court, Hurren had a loaded Lakefield Mossberg shotgun, a loaded Grizzly Arms shotgun, a restricted Hi-Standard revolver, a prohibited M14 rifle and a prohibited International Arms break-open pistol with him July 2 when he drove a truck onto the grounds of Rideau Hall and set out on foot toward the prime minister's home at Rideau Cottage.

He admitted Friday to possessing the Hi-Standard revolver, the M14 rifle and the pistol, plus a high-capacity magazine without a licence.

Hurren also pleaded guilty to handling the loaded shotguns in a public place where they could not be discharged.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of mischief causing damage to the gate at Rideau Hall.

Hurren wanted to arrest PM

The court heard how Hurren, who had lost his business during the pandemic and hadn't qualified for the emergency benefit, and felt "betrayed by his government" and angry.

"Hurren has nothing left," remarked one of the officers.

Hurren said he wanted to make a statement to the prime minister by showing up during one of his daily media briefings. He said he hoped his actions would be a "wake-up call" and a "turning point." 

Hurren went on to say that he drove from Manitoba to Ottawa because he wanted to arrest Trudeau over the federal government's COVID-19 restrictions and its ban on assault-style firearms.

He wanted to "show prime minister Justin Trudeau how angry everyone was about the gun ban and the COVID-19 restrictions."

Hurren stated that "Trudeau is a communist who is above the law and corrupt." The agreed statement of facts said Hurren didn't make any comments about wanting to kill Trudeau.

During an interview after his arrest, Hurren told the RCMP that maybe he would have been better if he made a sudden movement, but he didn't want to "f--k the guys," the RCMP officers, more than he had. 

When the interviewer asked what his plan was Hurren stated, "I don't think there was," but said he was more relaxed that morning than he had been for a long time. 

Hurren seemed worried about the how the RCMP would perceive him.

"He said he was talking with the guys this morning and they seemed sympathetic to his views. He doesn't want the RCMP to think that he's a terrorist," the court heard. 

"Hurren said he was concerned about being compared to 'that guy,' being the Parliament Hill shooting that took place."

After his arrest, an officer asked if he had any regrets. Hurren responded, he regretted not stopping to look at the Terry Fox statue.

Hurren, who described himself as Metis, also stated during the interview that people who are "the right colour" are allowed to keep their banned firearms.

Data retrieved from his cellphone and social media accounts included exchanges with friends about "conspiracy theories related to the Canadian government" and COVID-19. He and a friend also talked about the mass shooting in Nova Scotia that April, speculating on a "sacrifice theory."

He returns to court for a sentencing hearing Feb. 23.

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