By Garett Williams
Thursday November 22, 2007
Bruce Montague’s criminal trial on weapons related offences continued
Wednesday with expert testimony from the Centre of Forensic Sciences.
Crown witness John Paul Menard, senior forensic scientist at the centre
Toronto, tested more than 20 weapons recovered from the Montague home.
One by one he identified and described weapons he tested -- riffles,
guns and a cross-bow -- and classified them as non-restricted,
Several of the hand guns presented fell under the prohibited category,
to a short barrel, based on the Firearms Act, but were legal before
with a licence.
One of the guns presented was an eighth of a millimetre short of the cut
off. During cross-examination Menard agreed gun owners can find
holding prohibited firearms without even knowing it.
A number of riffles presented were classified as non-restricted.
few that had been modified landed in the prohibited category.
Some were found to be too short -- a few with the barrel sawed off and
with the butt-end removed -- and others were modified with a flash or
suppressors or converted to fully-automatic.
Sound suppressors are a prohibited device, however, flash suppressors
not. Menard said he didn’t test the suppressors as flash reducers, only
Defence attorney Doug Christie argued the gun with the butt-end removed
a parts gun and Menard admitted that he tested it with “a slight amount
He said, as he understands it, there is no law preventing a gunsmith
manufacturing or re-manufacturing guns or requiring them to report when
someone brings them a gun without a serial number. However, he said for
barrel to be cut or sawed legally, it should be removed from the gun.
Several converted firearms, from semi-automatic to fully-automatic, were
also classified as prohibited.
Menard said the modifications were some of the best he’s seen in more
10 years working for the forensic centre and they would have been
by someone with a strong knowledge of firearms.
One of the converted riffles required a pin placed so accurately that a
millimetre out in any direction and the gun could fire out of control
all the rounds were shot or it jammed, he said.
Menard will return to the witness box today for further
Peter Keen is the Crown attorney leading the prosecution.
Montague is facing 53 firearms related offenses, including the
possession and careless storage of non-restricted firearms, explosives
restricted firearms. His wife, Donna, is facing three charges -- the
unauthorized possession of a firearm and two counts of careless storage
Montague’s constitutional challenge of the federal Firearms Act -- which
aimed to strike out sections of the Criminal Code of Canada related to
act, to have their criminal charges dismissed and to have the Firearms
declared unconstitutional -- was dismissed by Justice John Wright a week
before the criminal trial began.
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