Dad acquitted of striking suspected stalker

Colin MacLean
Published on June 27, 2012
Tony Nippard. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A Mount Pearl man accused of chasing someone he thought was a stalker, and hitting him with his car has been found not guilty.

Tony Raymond Nippard, 49, was accused in August 2011 of having an altercation with someone who had supposedly harassed his 12-year-old daughter and her friend while they were out walking their dog.

After his daughter told him she’d been followed while walking, Nippard got in his pickup truck, found who he thought was the guy and confronted him.

Police investigated the incident, but did not press charges against the other man. Instead, they charged Nippard.

Police had said he assaulted the man, hit him with his car and refused to let him go.

“The guy chased my daughter and friend, petrified the life out of them. As far as I was concerned, there was a possible pedophile in the (area),” Nippard told reporters back in February.

In his decision on the case, Judge Colin Flynn wrote that none of the charges against Nippard had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  

Flynn noted that the witnesses in the case presented their testimony concisely, despite a few inconsistencies. However, he said Nippard’s demeanor in giving his testimony worked against him.

“I have no doubt from his explanation that Mr. Nippard was very concerned for his daughter’s safety on the night of these events,” wrote Judge Flynn.

“Unfortunately, unlike the other witnesses, Mr. Nippard presented his evidence in a condescending and arrogant tone, and on cross examination was confrontational, combative and unwilling to respond directly to a number of questions asked of him. It was very difficult for me to determine what were the actual factual responses to the questions asked on cross examination, verses the hyperbolic responses that peppered his evidence.”

Nippard is well known in the sports community. He is the president and founder of the Newfoundland and Labrador Tae Kwon Do Academy. He’s a master-level competitor, a coach and member of the national board in the sport and member of the coaching council with Sport Newfoundland and Labrador.

His lawyer, Brian Wentzell, told reporters that Nippard’s livelihood depends on him having a clean criminal record.

“Had he been convicted his life would have been ruined ... he would have lost everything,” said Wentzell.

He added that Nippard is away at the national taekwondo championships but that he would be calling his client as soon as possible to give him the good news.

“I’m sure he’s going to be relieved, quite ecstatic about this. Again, his whole life was on the line with this. So I’m sure the weight of the world will be off his shoulders as a result of this today,” he said.

Twitter: @TelegramMacLean