The statement to police by a Labrador man accused of arson has been ruled admissible by the courts.
Jonathan Henoche had a voir dire hearing in St. John’s, Jan. 22-23 to determine whether he was of sound mind when he called RCMP on Aug. 19, 2016 and told them he had burned down a house on Montagnais Street earlier that year.
Following the call to RCMP, Henoche, of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, met with police officers in town and was arrested. He then gave a video and audio recorded statement in which he confessed to breaking into and setting fire to the house of John Neville on Montagnais Street.
Henoche claimed he could not remember talking to police that night, that he was off his medication and using cocaine and marijuana.
“In short, the accused claimed he could not recall any of the interactions he had with police on August 19, 2016,” wrote Judge George Murphy in his decision. “When asked why he told the RCMP he had broken into John Neville’s house and started the fire, his response was that he was hearing voices. He also said he did not understand that what he said could be used against him.”
Henoche did, however, remember a lot of other details, Murphy wrote. He pointed out Henoche remembered the drug use the evening he called the RCMP, and that he knew he was asking to speak to an RCMP officer when he specifically asked to speak to two members of the Happy Valley-Goose Bay detachment. He also remembered being in the cell at the detachment and details about its condition.
All three of the police officers who interacted with Henoche on August 19, 2016 testified they noticed nothing unusual about him and had no concerns during their interactions about him understanding what was going on, Murphy wrote.
He said all of them described Henoche as being calm and cooperative and wanting to tell them what happened because he “felt bad” and “wanted to get it off his chest.”
“I simply find it quite improbable that the accused would remember so many other details of the time period and events in question but nothing about his call to the RCMP or subsequent interactions with Constable Earle and Constable Seaward or Sergeant Flynn,” Murphy concluded.
Henoche is also being charged with murder in relation to the death of Happy Valley-Goose Bay resident Regula Schule.
His next court appearance is April 11 in Supreme Court.