By Garett Williams
Wednesday November 21, 2007
During cross-examination of Const. Andrew Bulmer in a Kenora courtroom
Tuesday, Bruce Montague’s lawyer Doug Christie attacked the credibility
of an OPP search of a hidden room in Montague’s home.
Bulmer said he and another officer counted $405 American and $2,105
Canadian dollars, money recovered from the room. Christie suggested
there was well over $3,000 and presented a photo showing a sum of money
in a large paper clip, with more money wrapped in a piece of paper
“That ($2,105) is not what is depicted in those photos and you must
have known that,” Christie said.
“No sir, I can only refer to the money I counted,” Bulmer replied.
During re-examination by Crown attorney Peter Keen, Bulmer said he
hadn’t taken any money out of the room.
Christie continued to press the issue of the search when he cross
examined Const. Randy Belluz, the arresting officer and member of the
Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit.
Belluz was the officer who recovered the guns from the room, unloading
them, if necessary, before passing them along to another officer,
Bulmer, who made them safe and handed them to a third officer, who
applied identification numbers and tags.
Belluz said Montague told him there was nearly $1,500 in the room,
which belonged to his son and asked him to leave it there. Belluz
relayed the message, but couldn’t recall if he said it should be left
in the room.
Christie also pressed him on the arrest, which occurred at a gun show
in Dryden in 2004.
Belluz approached Montague while he was looking at a saddle and asked
him to come outside, so he wouldn’t be arrested in front of a crowd.
Montague turned back toward the saddle dealer and reached into his
pocket, which raised a safety concern to Belluz, so he grabbed Montague
by his wrist and elbow, asked him not to make a scene and directed him
Christie argued that when approached by Belluz, Montague said he wanted
to buy the saddle first and reached into his pocket for money.
Belluz said it wasn’t possible Montague was wearing a rifle at the time
of his arrest and it wasn’t until he was questioned outside that the
officers learned he brought a .22-calibre riffle to the show.
Next, the Crown called an expert witness in Stephen Horwood from
Ontario’s Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit.
Horwood testified serial numbers are used to track guns and the most
common reason to remove it is to eliminate the history of the gun, so
it won’t be traced back to the seller.
During cross-examination Horwood said it’s possible to trace a gun back
to a seller without the serial number and there is no law requiring a
gunsmith to call the authorities if they are working on a gun without a
The final witness of the day was Const. Mark Sharpe, an OPP forensic
identification officer in Kenora.
Sharpe was responsible for making a video of the Montague house, before
anything was touched by investigators, during the first search and
making a video of the hidden room on the second search, before the
firearms were removed.
The primary function of making a video is to document the scene as it
is found, so it can be re-created in a courtroom, he said.
There is a 20-minute gap in the video when the hidden room was first
opened and the first officer entered to take photos. Christie argued
the first officer in the room was out of sight of anyone else,
including the video camera for nearly 20 minutes.
“Did he take anything,” Christie asked.
“I don’t know,” replied Sharpe.
Montague is facing 53 firearms related offenses, including the
unauthorized possession and careless storage of non-restricted
firearms, explosives and restricted firearms. His wife, Donna, is
facing three charges -- the unauthorized possession of a firearm and
two counts of careless storage of a firearm.
Montague’s constitutional challenge of the federal Firearms Act --
which aimed to strike out sections of the Criminal Code of Canada
related to the act, to have their criminal charges dismissed and to
have the Firearms Act declared unconstitutional -- was dismissed by
Justice John Wright a week before the criminal trial began.
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