Judge doesn’t accept guilty plea
A man accused of assaulting a police officer in the eye with a cigarette will go back to trail in July, after the judge chose not to accept his guilty plea.
Cecil Thomas Brown, 45, is facing one charge of assaulting a peace officer and another for resisting or obstructing a peace officer.
According to the agreed statement of facts read aloud by the crown prosecutor in Harbour Grace Provincial Court on Jan. 24, police were called to the Upper Island Cove home of Brown’s ex-wife, Roxanne Brown, on June 14, 2010 just before 10 p.m. She told police Brown was intoxicated inside her travel trailer. Upon the arrival of officers, Brown agreed to leave the property.
Police left the home slowly by vehicle, and as Brown began to leave, he staggered and fell into a ditch. The officers exited the vehicle to retrieve Brown, who was now publicly intoxicated, and as they attempted to cuff him, Brown swung an arm at one of the officers, striking him in the right eye with a cigarette.
The Crown had agreed to drop the second charge for resisting or obstructing a peace officer if Brown pleaded guilty to the assault charge.
Judge Jacqueline Brazil asked Brown if he had anything to say before sentencing. He said the alleged incident was an accident. At this point, the judge said she could not accept a guilty plea, citing mens rea — the standard common law test of criminal liability — and suggested court be adjourned so Brown could speak with his lawyer.
After a brief break, court resumed, and when asked again by the judge if he had anything he wished to say to the court, Brown said he did swing his arm at the officer, but not on purpose. Judge Brazil immediately said she would not accept the guilty plea.
Brown’s trial is scheduled for July 25.