2020-11-11

Suspect accused of stabbing cop and police dog to test Crown’s case

by KEITH CORCORAN

The 31-year-old Bridgewater man accused of trying to kill a local police officer, at-large for several days this summer before capture, is testing the Crown's case against him in a preliminary hearing next year.

Tobias Charles Doucette also elected to have his Nova Scotia Supreme Court trial heard by a justice and jury if a provincial court judge determines at the preliminary hearing there's enough evidence to send the allegations to trial.

Doucette's preliminary hearing - a proceeding available to accused facing serious types of charges - is scheduled for two days in June 2021. A court document indicates Doucette is free on bail secured by sureties.

Doucette also faces new charges, as police allege five new offences contained in a replacement Information filed with the court in September. He's now accused of assaulting Bridgewater Police Service (BPS) Cst. Jamie Dearing with an edged weapon, breaking into and stealing cash from a seasonal dwelling on Gerhardt Fleet Tech Service property in Hebbville, damaging Derek Kinsman's 1978 Chevrolet camper truck, and stealing and damaging a 2008 Ram vehicle belonging to Gerhardt's. Dearing wasn't seriously hurt and remains on active duty.

It's still alleged Doucette stabbed and endangered the life of BPS Sgt. Matthew Bennett, stabbed RCMP police dog Fergus, assaulted Hillary Francis, assaulted Jacob Selig with an edged weapon, and possessed a stick and edged weapon for dangerous purposes. He's further accused of stealing Gerhardt's 1998 Chevrolet Silverado and damaging a metal gate on the Fleet Tech Service property.

None of the allegations against Doucette have been tested in court and he is presumed innocent.

The sequence of alleged events started in Bridgewater on July 20, when Bennett, Dearing and at least one other BPS officer responded to a High Street hotel to deal with a domestic violence complaint.

During the course of the investigation, Bennett was knifed in the neck. He ended up spending more than a week in hospital and underwent surgery. He remains off-duty and at home recovering.

An emergency alert was sent the July 21 morning warning local residents of a fugitive.

As police closed in on a potential arrest July 21 in the Conquerall Bank area, Fergus, a German shepherd RCMP police dog, sustained a stab wound to his upper shoulder. A Wileville veterinary clinic would later be credited with saving the dog's life. Fergus's handler wasn't hurt.

The ground-and-air search ended in the early morning hours of July 26 after they responded to an attempted auto theft in Hebbville.

Authorities zeroed on a heat signature using infrared technology and found a suspect in a tree at about 12:50 a.m.

Doucette was ordered in September to undergo an assessment of criminal responsibility. Court heard October 15 he was fit to stand trial.

He was granted interim release on conditions October 19 following a two-day bail hearing.

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