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.

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