UPDATE: Crockwell guilty of five of six charges

Rosie Mullaley
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Judge delivers four hours of final instructions before deliberations

Leo Crockwell is handcuffed by a sheriff officer at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's today. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Leo Crockwell has been found guilty on five of six counts.

He was found not guilty of uttering threats.

Crockwell was charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats towards his sister; mischief by interfering with property; carelessly using a firearm; and intentionally and recklessly discharging a firearm.

Case will be back in court Tuesday, at which time the judge and lawyers will discuss scheduling for a sentencing hearing. They will also discuss a stay of proceedings application filed months ago by Crockwell's former lawyer Ken Mahoney.

The judge ordered a pre-sentence report be prepared and requested that it be completed by June 26. He's hoping to have the sentencing hearing begin shortly after that.



The Jury are back from deliberations, and are expected to deliver their verdict within minutes.


As tempting as it may be to judge how the RCMP acted in the December 2010 standoff in Bay Bulls, the judge reminded jurors their job is to judge the actions of one person — Leo Crockwell.

“You are not here to conduct an inquiry into the actions of police,” Justice Richard LeBlanc told jurors Thursday while giving them final instructions at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.

“This should be of no consequence to your deliberations.

“This case is about the charges (against) Mr. Crockwell.”

After sitting through six weeks of testimony in a trial that saw close to 50 witnesses take the stand and numerous exhibits and photos entered as evidence, the 11 jury members left the courtroom to begin the daunting task of reaching a verdict in Crockwell’s case.


But before the jurors could do that, they had to listen to four hours of instruction.

LeBlanc began speaking shortly after 9:30 a.m. and, with just three short breaks in between, concluded at 1:40 p.m.

He spoke for so long, his voice got raspy, prompting him to take a five-minute break near the end.

The judge explained, in detail, the jury’s role, the six charges against Crockwell and reviewed the evidence, witness testimony, along with the final arguments from Crockwell, who represented himself, and Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Ivany.

The judge outlined the principles of law and reminded jurors that Crockwell is presumed innocent. He said it was the Crown’s job to prove Crockwell was guilty of the crimes he was accused of beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Not beyond a shadow of a doubt,” LeBlanc said, “but, if based on the evidence, you are not sure (he committed the crimes), you should find him not guilty.”

Crockwell is charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats towards his sister; mischief by interfering with property; carelessly using a firearm; and intentionally and recklessly discharging a firearm. Charges of assault and using a firearm without a licence were dropped — the assault because the charge was considered redundant and the latter due to a lack of evidence.

The 57-year-old was charged as a result of a standoff with police at his family’s Bay Bulls house. It began Dec. 4, 2010, and ended eight days later when Crockwell was picked up at a house on Petty Harbour Road.

A couple, who Crockwell hitched a ride with, dropped him off there and then called the RNC.

Crockwell, who had slipped out of a side window in the Bay Bulls house, was arrested and has been behind bars ever since.

After parting ways with his third lawyer early in the trial, Crockwell represented himself, earning compliments from the judge and amicus (mediator) Randy Piercey.

Crockwell didn’t call any evidence, but did subpoena Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy.

Kennedy was his lawyer in a case in 1998, when Crockwell was found to have been unlawfully held at the Waterford Hospital for 140 days.

Kennedy showed up at the courthouse Monday, but left after Crockwell’s plans changed.

Nonetheless, that 1998 case maybe come into play for the jury

LeBlanc pointed out that while Crockwell did not present a defence of mental insanity, his state of mind at the time must be considered.

The judge said this would particularly apply to the final charge of intentionally and recklessly discharging a firearm.

That charge, which carries a minimum sentence of four years in jail, was laid as a result of what happened on Dec. 8, 2010.

That night — after throwing tear gas and other methods to force Crockwell out of the house had failed — members of the N.L. emergency response team approached the back door, with the goal of breaking it down and using a Taser on Crockwell.

However, officers said when shots were fired from inside the house and the robot was disabled, they retreated.

Crockwell claims he  felt he was under attack in his family’s home and said he acted in self-defence.

LeBlanc pointed out that when considering Crockwell’s state of mind during the “chaotic” scene on Dec. 8, 2010, jurors must consider several factors — Crockwell’s background, his alleged mental state and past experiences, including the 1998 case, which led him to mistrust police and the justice system.

The judge said jurors must determine if Crockwell intentionally and recklessly put the lives and safety of the officers in danger or if was he reasonable and justified in what he did.

“You must decide is Mr. Crockwell reasonably believed he was being unlawfully assaulted,” the judge said.

He also said to keep in mind, “a person under assault usually doesn’t have time to make calm decisions.”

However, the judge added that if jurors believe Crockwell was, in fact, trying to defend himself and the house, they must determine if he used excessive force in doing so.

In the end, the judge told jurors to look at all the evidence in totality and use common sense in coming to a decision.



Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: RCMP, Newfoundland Supreme Court, Bay Bulls house Waterford Hospital

Geographic location: Bay Bulls, Taser

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Recent comments

  • cfa
    June 06, 2012 - 16:02

    This guy has used up enough of the taxpayers money. He should be going to a mental health facility not prison. As per 2 lawyers previous dropping Mr. Crockwell's case. There is simply no way to handle this man. He thinks he is above the law.

  • CJ
    June 02, 2012 - 10:57

    Some of you people need to get your head checked.... Of course all you crying foul now over a guilty verdict would be the same ones up in arms if he was found not guilty and down the road pulls the trigger when he points a gun at one of his family members or someone else... the police actions in this case may have been over the top but to call Crockwell a victim and to try to justify his criminal actions with poor police response AFTER the initial actions which led police to be there in the first place is a bit much....

  • Joey
    June 02, 2012 - 08:48

    All you police haters out there forget that this man pointed a gun at his own sister! While I too am embarassed by the long drawn out standoff and the police actions at the time, I don't think Mr. Crockwell should be forgiven because the police screwed up. I hope if he's ever in your corner, as one poster stated, that he doesn't have a firearm held to you! Some people's hatred of police and authority really taints their common sense! And my hope for Mr. Crockwell is that he can control his mental health issues. He should not be locked up in a prison, but getting court ordered treatment from a mental health facility!

  • bushman
    June 02, 2012 - 05:57

    RCMP and the Nfld and lab Justice system. Need there be any more said.

  • Bob
    June 01, 2012 - 19:18

    A LeBlanc verdict. If that's not bad enough now he has to get all kinds of advice on what to do next. Definitely worth $150,000.00 a year.

  • nik
    June 01, 2012 - 18:29

    I'm thinking his family members feel very low as to how they treated Leo Crockwell!! The guilty verdict is a good one in the police eyes cause if it was not guilty , they would have to pay for all the damages they did to the house!!! ANY WAYS I DON'T THINK HE SHOULD OF BEEN FOUND GUILTY!!!!!! HIS FAMILY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES AS TO HOW THEY EXPLOITED LEO CROCKWELL!!

  • Marlene Harris
    June 01, 2012 - 16:41

    I am so sickened by this verdict and the judicial system. I think Leo Crockwell showed more restraint and more smarts than any police officer there on the site.I have watched what i could via the news on this court case and had to laugh every night and smiled along with Leo with his half smiles and his not give a shit attitude. This man has already served 2 years behind bars and now he will serve another 3 for shooting at a robot. This is a joke and definetely an injustice. Last week some idiot got 2 years less a day for stabbing a girl on Torbay Road but ya i know Leo is being made an example for the forces stupidity. Serve it well Leo and i would want you in my corner for sure if i were in trouble.

  • The Blank
    June 01, 2012 - 16:12

    I too wonder is Judge LeBlanc tried to presuade the jury with so much "intsruction"

  • Whaddaya At ?
    June 01, 2012 - 15:22

    An off duty policeman on the mainland was recently charged with DUI after he was stopped by a policeman, given a sobriety test and failed it. The policeman who stopped the off duty policeman was harassed by fellow officers because his actions resulted in one of their own being charged. An officer was suspended for trying to have a bogus Highway Traffic Act charge laid against the officer. There is such a thing as the' thin blue line' and the public would be advised to remember that.

  • Don II
    June 01, 2012 - 14:23

    They've been working on a railroad....Guilty...What's the charge? It appears that in the so called Justice System in Newfoundland it is still business as usual. Deliberation? What's that? It appears that the Jury must have been bored or upset at Mr. Crockwell for wasting their time and for trying to keep them away from happy hour on George Street!

  • Maggy Carter
    June 01, 2012 - 14:12

    With all due respects to LeBlanc who was no doubt well intentioned in his instructions, I believe he may have inadvertently pushed the jury into a conviction on the assault with a weapon charge. I do not believe that it was Crockwell's intention to shoot police officers or indeed anyone else. Had I sat on the jury I would have found him guilty of the lessor charges but I would have found Crockwell not guilty on the one charge that carried a minimum sentence of five years. Five months - not five years - is a more appropriate sentence for Crockwell's behaviour. With time served, he'd have been released at the conclusion of the trial. Sadly, Crockwell and the taxpayers have to pay for the incredible stupidity of the RCMP force which raised this whole incident from a misdemeanour to a felony. The worse thing is that today's outcome basically sends a message to the RCMP, and allows them to claim publicly, that everything they did was just fine.

  • grant
    June 01, 2012 - 10:26

    Don11, you are so right. I never believed in the Newfoundland justice system, I have seen too many police and judges get away with public abuse.

  • starr
    June 01, 2012 - 09:14

    Why is this man's face on the front page every other day? I am sick of seeing him. Surely there are more important matters or people (worthy of attention) to post about. Telegram - do your job and stop getting only old court stories. Get out in the city and find out at least some of the noteworthy happenings. Its time for you to toe the line on issues.

  • Don II
    June 01, 2012 - 08:57

    With all due respect to the learned Judge in this case, the Jury MUST consider the actions of the RCMP during their deliberations if Mr. Crockwell is to receive a fair trial and an impartial verdict. This is the problem with the Courts in Newfoundland where Judges who are trained in the law and the management of trials can intentionally or unintentionally misdirect or mislead a Jury made up of ordinary people in order to cause a verdict in favor of the Crown and miscarriage of Justice to occur. This type of circumstance has happened on numerous occasions in both Criminal and Civil law cases being heard before the Courts in Newfoundland. It appears that there is a systemic bias in the Courts in favor of the Police or Government departments against members of the public who come into conflict with these representatives of the State. In most of these cases the member of the public always loses. I recall sitting through a civil law case in which a member of the public sued Memorial University which is virtually an arm of the Government of Newfoundland. The Plaintiff lost at all levels of Courts in Newfoundland but ultimately won the case at the Supreme Court of Canada. Regrettably, most Plaintiffs or Defendants in Newfoundland do not have the financial resources or a competent enough lawyer to go that far in search of justice. Hopefully, the Jury in this case will not want to be a part of how Newfoundland justice really works and will give Mr. Crockwell a fair trial and impartial verdict.

  • Duffy
    June 01, 2012 - 08:06

    Guilty of something ? Yes! The original assault on family members. If the RCMP had fortitude and good supervision, the tactical team would or should have ended this situation asap. Then all the later charges would never have occured as a direct result of just waiting around. A tactical team is just for these situations and if not prepared should be replaced with those dedicated to taking the risks and doing the job.

  • Winston Adams
    June 01, 2012 - 08:02

    In 1990 I was assaulted by three Mounties in the backroom of the Hr Grace courthouse. They didn't like that I was pressing to enter a Victim Impact Statement at the trial of a serial pedophile. And they went crazy when they found I had a small taperecorder in my pocket. I was choked, Hauled off to jail, striped searched, had charges pressed against me, dragged through court for years, lawyers took my money and then abandoned me, and I still have a criminal record from that ,from retired Judge Reid, who could find no fault with the Mounties, and when I tried to state my case, sometimes threatened to send me to the lock up. (And the serial pedophile got little more than a slap on the wrist. None of the Victims entered a Victim Impact statement.) Crockwell deserved good health care, not this mistreatment, which is not unusual for the Mounties, and our injustice system.

  • Rosa
    June 01, 2012 - 07:46

    Focus on Crockwll not the police? Well, when you are totally surrounded by police, sharpshooters hiding in the grass, police dogs barking, smoke bombs being thrown into your house, I think the actions of the police should be the focus of the charges against Mr. Crockwell. Oh, yeah, some guy just got charged with child luring via the internet, and HE'S' OUT ON BAIL.! Leo is in jail since Dec. 2010, I guess the priority of our justice system is. PROTECT OUR POLICE ROBOTS, TO HELL WITH OUR CHILDREN.

    • Jeff
      June 01, 2012 - 17:31

      That is a excellent point and angers me to the core. An investigation should be conducted on the competentcies of the people we have in our justice system. That is absolutely ridiculous. As tax paying citizens, we all pay these idiots' salaries and we should have a say on the decisions made at these trials. It blows me away that a man that "assaulted" a robot had been detained but a child sex offender is free. Hang your heads in shame whoever that judge was

  • jeremiah
    June 01, 2012 - 07:00

    Someone should "conduct and inquiry into the actions of the police". Mishandled all the way, should never have come to court. This man is a victim, not a criminal.

    • Frank
      June 01, 2012 - 08:12

      I have a hard time considering someone who points a gun at a family member long before the cops are called a "victim".