Accused murderer pleads not guilty to assault, uttering threats

Andrew Robinson
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Two-day trial in February for Nelson Hart, man who allegedly drowned twin daughters

A Gander man who allegedly drowned his twin daughters in 2002 has entered not guilty pleas on charges that include uttering threats and assaulting a peace officer.

Nelson Hart, 44, appeared in St. John’s provincial court by video link Monday morning. He was found guilty in 2007 of first-degree murder in the deaths of his daughters, but the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal overturned that conviction five years later. It ruled in a 2-1 decision that a confession he gave to undercover RCMP officers should not have been entered as evidence.

In addition to uttering threats and assaulting a peace officer earlier this year, Hart is accused of damaging property at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary and giving false statements to police.

James Merrigan, Hart’s lawyer, entered the not guilty pleas on his client’s behalf Monday and requested that the two-day trial be handled by separate judges for each day.

Crown prosecutor Danny Vavasour said he expects to call several witnesses during the two-day trial, including multiple correctional officers.

Chief Judge Mark Pike agreed Monday to schedule the two-day trial for Feb. 6-7.

The Supreme Court Of Canada is scheduled to here an appeal concerning the decision to overturn Hart’s first-degree murder conviction. Arguments are set to be heard in Ottawa on Dec. 3.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Court, RCMP, Supreme Court Of Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa

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