Harry Richardson was found guilty on four counts at the Nelson Courthouse on March 22 and has now been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness. File photo

Harry Richardson was found guilty on four counts at the Nelson Courthouse on March 22 and has now been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness. File photo

Man who fired at RCMP officers in West Kootenay found not criminally responsible

Harry Richardson found to be mentally ill during 2019 incident in Argenta

A man who shot an RCMP officer during a 2019 incident in Argenta has been found not criminally responsible due to mental illness.

Harry Richardson was found guilty of reckless discharge of a firearm, careless use of a firearm, unlawfully in a dwelling-house, and unlawful attempt to cause bodily harm in Nelson court on March 22.

After the verdict, Richardson applied to the court for a decision that he was not criminally responsible, and provided evidence from two psychiatrists to support him. A hearing was held on April 13, and Judge Philip Seagram gave his decision and reasons on May 4.

To be found not criminally responsible, the Criminal Code of Canada states the accused person must be shown to be suffering from a mental disorder, and that disorder renders the person “incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act, or of knowing that it was wrong.”

A person found not criminally responsible does not automatically go free, but may be subject to detention in a mental health facility. This determination has not yet been made for Richardson.

The Argenta incident, which featured 22 shots fired at police, shook the small West Kootenay community located north of Kaslo. Richardson was arrested on Oct. 11, 2019 after an overnight standoff.

Seagram said in the opinion of a forensic psychologist and a forensic psychiatrist, both of whom had interviewed and examined Richardson, he was ill with schizophrenia at the time of the incident and likely had been for several months leading up to it.

Seagram also cited Richardson’s history of mental illness going back a decade, and pointed to evidence of Richardson’s erratic behaviour in the weeks leading up to the Argenta incident.

He said Richardson’s actions in the Argenta incident were “inexplicable but for some profound malfunction of his mind.”

All the evidence adds up to Richardson having a delusional belief that the police were hunting him in order to kill him, Seagram said.

As an indicator of his mental state, Seagram cited evidence from the March 22 trial in which Richardson told an Argenta resident that “he was terrified because the police were hunting him down like an animal. He (said) that the police were going to inject him with a number of pharmaceuticals, which he named, and thereby ‘kill off his being.’”

The inability to make a rational choice, Seagram said, can stem from delusions in which a person sees wrong as right.

Seagram said one of the psychiatrists gave Richardson a test designed to identify whether a person is “malingering” his psychiatric symptom, or in other words pretending to be mentally ill. Richardson, Seagram said, got zero out of 25 on the test, indicating his symptoms were genuine.

Richardson’s next step is to appear at a disposition hearing conducted by the B.C. Review Board, which is empowered to decide one of three results: an absolute discharge, a conditional discharge (live in the community but with conditions or restrictions) or custody (detained in hospital).

While waiting for the hearing, which must happen within 45 days, Richardson will remain in custody.



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

The Sparwood Golf Club received $1,206.12 for a lighting project as part of its wider renewal efforts. (Image contributed by Columbia Foundation of the Kootenay Rockies)
CFKR allocates over $11,000 to Elk Valley community programs

Over $50,000 was dished out between the communities of the Kootenay Rockies

RDEK is calling for nominations for their Volunteer of the Year award in all six electoral districts.
RDEK posts operating surplus as pandemic reduces costs

The RDEK has posted an operational surplus of $8 million as local… Continue reading

North Okanagan business Hytec Kohler set up a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Spallumcheen plant Friday, May 14. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
More than half of eligible adults in Interior Health vaccinated

Over 365,000 vaccine doses have been administered throughout the Interior Health region

Fernie Ghostriders head coach Jeff Wagner has committed to two more years with the team. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press
Fernie Ghostriders coach departs: Wagner moves to Coquitlam

Jeff Wagner will move to the Lower Mainland as associate coach and director of scouting with the Coquitlam Express

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read