Harry Richardson was found guilty on four counts at the Nelson Courthouse on Monday after a 2019 standoff with police. File photo

Harry Richardson was found guilty on four counts at the Nelson Courthouse on Monday after a 2019 standoff with police. File photo

Man who fired at RCMP officers in rural Kootenays found guilty on 4 charges

But a judge ruled Harry Richardson was innocent of attempted murder

A man who broke into a rural Kootenay home in October 2019 and fired on RCMP officers has been found guilty on four charges, but avoided two counts of attempted murder.

Judge Philip Seagram brought an end to the weeks-long trial in a Nelson provincial courtroom by finding Harry Richardson guilty Monday on charges of reckless discharge of a firearm, careless use of a firearm, unlawfully in a dwelling-house, and unlawful attempt to cause bodily harm.

Richardson had already previously plead guilty to resisting arrest.

But it was on two counts of attempted murder against RCMP officers, one of whom was shot by Richardson, that Seagram sided with the defendant.

Crown counsel Rebecca Smyth said she thought the verdict was fair.

“The decision was well reasoned and was consistent with the law and the facts,” said Smyth, “and all the facts the court relied upon to coming to that decision were justified and supported by the evidence.”

The incident, which featured 22 shots fired at police and an overnight standoff, shook Argenta, the small West Kootenay community located north of Kaslo.

Richardson was arrested on Oct. 11, 2019 after an overnight standoff.

The owner of 1221 Argenta Road was away, but a local resident looking after the house suspected someone was inside. When she called the residence, a man picked up and refused to leave. He told her police were hunting him, and that he had three guns. A double-barrel shotgun, a .22 calibre rifle and seven millimetre firearm were later discovered in the building.

The resident called RCMP, and it was at approximately 7 p.m. when Const. Shaun Kennedy and reserve Const. Darryl Hammond arrived.

Kennedy previously testified he had pursued Richardson in September for two outstanding arrest warrants.

Richardson popped out a window screen on the second floor to greet the officers, who told him he was being arrested. He then dropped gasoline out of the front window, tried to light it with a match and opened fire on the officers.

Hammond was later hit in his right hand, forearm and upper arm. The Crown had argued that warranted an attempted murder verdict, but Seagram said there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest Richardson intended to kill Hammond.

However, Seagram did change the charge to an attempt to cause bodily harm, which he found Richardson guilty of.

Richardson had also faced an attempted murder charge for firing at another officer, but Seagram said there wasn’t enough evidence to prove either intent to kill or how close the shots were. Seagram did however note Richardson fired at least 22 shots from the home, while police did not return fire once.

The standoff ended at dawn when Richardson slid down a rope from the second storey window only to be arrested in the nearby forest.

Smyth said she hopes the end of the trial provides some peace to Argenta residents.

“This was a very significant event for any community, in particular a small rural community like Argenta,” said Smyth. “The impact on that community has been evidenced by the local interest in it and the attendants in court with respect to watching the proceedings, which have been fairly lengthy.”

The prolonged trial that began in January was essentially a one-sided argument by the prosecution. The Crown called 36 witnesses, 34 of whom were officers. Richardson represented himself and called no witnesses or offered any evidence in his defence.

On Monday, Richardson said little from a cell at the Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver where he joined by video conference.

Although he was found not guilty on the two counts of attempted murder, Richardson will likely be sentenced to several years in jail. Canada’s criminal code says the mandatory minimum sentence for reckless discharge of a firearm is four years.

No date was set Monday for sentencing.

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Crime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Quesnel resident receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month. (Photo credit: Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
IH says COVID-19 vaccines safe despite claims of Lytton physician

Doctor makes unsubstantiated claims about serious side effects of Moderna vaccine

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood, this includes protecting one’s home by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-normal spring flood season

High-streamflow advisory issued for the Cariboo Region and areas including Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Interior Health issued warning April 18, 2021 of crack cocaine in Penticton that looks similar to the substance above containing fentanyl. (Interior Health photo)
Interior Health warns of fentanyl contaminated crack-cocaine in Penticton

There have been recent reports of overdose associated with the use of this substance

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Most Read