Defence lawyers Martin Peters and Frances Mahon addresses reporters outside of the New Westminster courthouse on Friday upon the conclusion of closing submissions in the trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson in November 2017. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

‘Not criminally responsible’ ruling possible for man accused of killing B.C. cop

If Oscar Arfmann is convicted, lawyers will make submissions on his mental state

If Oscar Arfmann is found guilty of the 2017 killing of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson, a “mini trial” will be held to determine whether he is not criminally responsible (NCR) due to mental illness.

Closing arguments in Arfmann’s first-degree murder trial – which began in May – were heard Thursday and Friday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

When both sides had finished their submissions, Justice Carol Ross said she was reserving her verdict, with the parties due back in court Sept. 25 to set a date for Ross’s decision.

Ross said if she finds Arfmann guilty, she wants both sides to be prepared to make submissions on his mental state at the time of the killing.

READ MORE: Witnesses in Const. Davidson murder case didn’t embellish testimony, Crown says

READ MORE: Defence won’t call evidence on behalf of accused killer of Abbotsford police officer

An NCR ruling would mean that the judge believes that Arfmann did not have the capacity to appreciate his actions and know right from wrong at the time of the offence.

Individuals who receive such a ruling fall under the mandate of the BC Review Board, which conducts an assessment to determine whether the person should be detained in a hospital, discharged in the community under certain conditions or discharged without conditions.

However, Arfmann’s lawyers Martin Peters and Frances Mahon are hoping the case doesn’t get that far and that Ross will acquit Arfmann.

Peters argued Friday in court that the Crown did not prove that Arfmann killed Davidson nor did they establish a motive.

Peters said Arfmann had no reason to kill Davidson. They were complete strangers and Arfmann had no history with the Abbotsford Police Department, Peters said.

He also said some of the witness testimony was “tainted” because individuals had seen photos and TV coverage of the case before giving their statements to police and/or testifying in court.

“That evidence should be given no weight whatsoever. It is completely valueless,” Peters said of those witnesses.

Mahon addressed contradictions in witness testimony, including discrepancies in the description of the man with a gun seen at the Mt. Lehman Road business complex where Davidson was killed on Nov. 6, 2017.

There were two shooting incidents – one in which Arfmann allegedly fired two shots after he was confronted about a stolen Mustang by two employees of the Fraser Valley Automall and the other involving Davidson.

Peters said witness descriptions of the man involved in the first incident were consistent, but did not match the description from witnesses who had seen the shooter in Davidson’s killing.

He said the Crown also did not prove that the black Mustang seen driving away after Davidson was shot was the same black Mustang seen in the first shooting.

No licence plate or driver description was provided by witnesses from the period during and after Davidson’s shooting, Peters said.

Mahon said there were also inconsistencies from police regarding the description of the gun that was taken by officers when Arfmann was arrested and the one that was tested.

Mahon also said none of Davidson’s blood was found on Arfmann’s clothes, which were taken from him shortly after his arrest just minutes after Davidson’s killing, nor was any of his DNA found on any of the bullet casings found at the scene.

Mahon addressed the Crown’s submission about Arfmann’s blood having been found on the gun that was tested. She said several officers were involved in his arrest, when he was “bleeding profusely” after having been shot.

Any of those officers could have had Arfmann’s blood on them and transferred it to the gun, Mahon said.

Crown counsel Wendy Stephen responded to the defence arguments by saying that Arfmann had a clear motive to kill Davidson.

“Const. Davidson was acting in the course of his duties to catch a person who had just shot up a truck at Quizno’s. And Mr. Arfmann, not unreasonably, wants to get away,” she said.

During Thursday’s submissions, Stephen said, to surmise that anyone besides Arfmann killed Davidson, given all the evidence, “would be to speculate beyond the point of absurdity.”

Speaking outside of the courthouse after the proceedings, Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr said he is “very confident” in the Crown’s case.

“I’m so very impressed. They did an outstanding job of presenting the case, of laying out all the evidence, so we’re just very thankful for all the efforts of Crown,” he said.

Davidson’s family has been in the courtroom every day of the trial, and Serr said that, although hearing the defence arguments the last two days has been difficult, they understand that it’s an important part of the justice system.

READ MORE: Const. John Davidson was ‘ambushed’ by shooter, Crown says on first day of trial

READ MORE: Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop shows man with a gun

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Vikki Hopes | Reporter

@VikkiHopes

Send Vikki an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

 

Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr addresses reporters outside of the New Westminster courthouse on Friday upon the conclusion of closing submissions in the trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson in November 2017. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

Oscar Arfmann listens to closing arguments on Aug. 1 during his trial for the first-degree murder of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson. (Sketch by Felicity Don)

Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 6, 2017.

Just Posted

Kelowna RCMP on the hunt for thieves at large

A subway heist and a camper break and enter are among the crimes to have occured

West Kelowna RCMP search for two alleged thieves

Anyone with information on the crimes is encouraged to contact the RCMP or Crime Stoppers

Overdose deaths down nearly 50 per cent in Kelowna in past year

In 2019, there were 27 illicit overdose deaths in Kelowna, down from 55 deaths

Ride-share electric scooters hit the streets of Kelowna in 2020

Loop is an electric scooter sharing service headquartered in Vancouver

Petition started to change location of selected homeless shelter in West Kelowna

The city, province and BC Housing selected a site on Stevens Road for a 40-bed temporary shelter

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

Weak link in Sagmoen trial, defence says

Counsel questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on reasonable grounds

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

North Okanagan MP says throne speech lacked specifics

‘Trudeau government presented a vague agenda,’: MP Mel Arnold

‘She was awesome’: Malakwa baker leaves U.S. holiday show

‘There are Christmas miracles, look at me’

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Sicamous Eagles defeat Summerland Steam in overtime decision

Junior B hockey teams faced off in Summerland on Dec. 5

Most Read