A St. John’s man behind bars for allegedly leading police on a high-speed car chase and burning down his own house three months ago has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.
Kevin Charles Roberts, 29, appeared in provincial court in St. John’s today. Roberts, who is in custody, was led into the courtroom wearing a suit and tie.
Defence lawyer Mark Gruchy told Judge Lynn Spracklin that Roberts is pleading not guilty to several lesser charges.
On the more serious charges, including arson and dangerous driving, Gruchy chose to have Roberts tried in Newfoundland Supreme Court by judge alone. Roberts also plans to plead not guilty to those charges.
It was an about-face from Roberts’ court appearance last month, when lawyers indicated his case would be dealt with by way of speedy disposition, suggesting a guilty plea might be forthcoming.
Trial dates on the charges which were laid in May — including driving while prohibited and breaches of probation — were set for December in provincial court.
Roberts is also charged with impaired driving, driving while disqualified, evading police, dangerous driving, unlawful confinement and other breaches of court orders in connection with an alleged high-speed chase June 6.
He was also charged with arson, disregard for human life and three breaches of court orders — two of breaching probation and one of breaching a recognizance — all for failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
Those charges are in connection with a fire that broke out at 32 Blackmarsh Rd. in the capital city. The house was extensively damaged, but the sole female occupant of the two-apartment home escaped unharmed.
RNC fire investigators determined the fire was suspicious.