A man serving federal time for shooting another man was acquitted of a charge of assault today.
Philip Pynn wasn't in provincial court in St. John's when his case was called. The 29 year old — who was found guilty of manslaughter last year — is serving a sentence at the Atlantic Institute in Springhill.
Pynn was represented in court by his lawyer Mark Gruchy. Prosecutor Danny Vavasour appeared via telephone from Clarenville.
"Based on recent information the Crown has received, we believe there is no longer reasonable prospect of a conviction," Vavasour told Judge Mark Pike.
"It's no longer in the public's interest to proceed."
Due to the lack of evidence, Gruchy asked for an acquittal, which Pike granted.
The charge was laid as a result of an incident that was said to have happened June 10, 2014, when Pynn was at Her Majesty's Penitentiary awaiting trial on the manslaughter case.
Gruchy told reporters that it happened in the bathroom in the prison's Special Handling Unit (SHU) — where inmates have security management concerns. He said another inmate with mental health issues was reportedly throwing toiletries around. When Pynn asked him to stop, an argument ensued. The man said Pynn hit him in the face.
Gruchy said Pynn had such concerns about the mental state of the inmate, he requested to be put on an undertaking with conditions that he stay away from him.
"He refused to plead guilty even though it would make no difference and had no practical impact on sentencing," Gruchy said.
In February 2015, Pynn was given an 8 1/2-year jail term after a jury found him guilty of manslaughter. With time given for time served, he had four years left to serve.
Pynn had been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 20-year-old Nick Winsor, who was killed at 10:30 p.m. on July 9, 2011, in a Portugal Cove Road property’s garage.
In February 2014, another 14 months was added to his jail time after he was convicted for his involvement in a prison riot at HMP.
Pynn pleaded guilty to taking part in a riot and assault causing bodily harm.
Pynn was one of several inmates who attacked Kenny Green on Feb. 9, 2014, in the prison's chapel.