Trial starts in sting operation that went awry

Josh Pennell
Published on July 22, 2014
Justin Michael Chipman sits in court. His trial starts this week in relation to charges including several of assaulting a peace officer. — Photo by Josh Pennell/The Telegram

Justin Michael Chipman, 26, had a question for reporters as he entered provincial court on Monday — Why was the media there taking pictures of him rather than getting footage of the cop who fired a single shot trying to subdue him

Chipman is facing a slew of charges following a sting operation in February by the RNC that was supposed to catch Chipman in the act of breaking into a car at the Field House parking lot at MUN.

It ended with a round being fired by police and an officer being injured as Chipman sped off in his vehicle. Nobody was injured by the bullet.

The vehicle Chipman was driving — a Chevy Equinox that had been reported stolen a couple of months before — was found later that same night torched on Keane Place in St. John’s.

Chipman was picked up in a different part of town a short while later.

In court Monday morning, Chipman pleaded guilty to several charges related to the incident including possessing property obtained by crime.

He also pleaded guilty to several charges in another incident whereby he was found to be in possession of a 2011 Toyota Corolla that was reported stolen in january 2014.

Chipman has previously been convicted on more than 60 charges relating to incidents covering a six-year period from 2006 to 2012.

In April 2012, he was sentenced to 14 months in prison on more than two dozen charges, including fraud, theft, uttering threats, possessing property obtained by crime and dangerous driving.

This week his trial begins for the other charges he’s facing in relation to the February incident at MUN. Those include several charges of assault with a weapon and several charges of assaulting a peace officer.