Mur­der charge with­drawn against Bot­wood man

The Western Star - - Front Page - BY SA­MAN­THA GAR­DINER SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Gil­bert Don­ald Budgell walked into pro­vin­cial court in Grand Falls-Wind­sor Thurs­day morn­ing with a smile on his face.

The court docket had in­di­cated a five-day pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry was set to get un­der­way, with the 53-year-old Bot­wood man fac­ing charges of sec­ond de­gree-mur­der and a firearms charge re­lated to an in­ci­dent in 2016. At the time Budgell, the home­owner, was faced with a home in­va­sion sit­u­a­tion that re­sulted in the death of one of the two in­trud­ers.

In­stead of a pre­lim­i­nary in­quiry, Budgell made a brief ap­pear­ance in court in Grand Falls-Wind­sor Thurs­day where Crown at­tor­ney Karen O’Reilly no­ti­fied the court of the de­ci­sion to with­draw the charges against him.

At the time Budgell, the home­owner, was faced with a home in­va­sion sit­u­a­tion that re­sulted in the death of one of the two in­trud­ers.

“What we’ve de­ter­mined is that there is no rea­son­able like­li­hood of con­vic­tion, that we wouldn’t be able to prove that it wasn’t self de­fence,” O’Reilly told me­dia fol­low­ing the court pro­ceed­ing.

“From my clients’ per­spec­tive, he’s ex­tremely pleased and happy to see that the charges have been with­drawn,” said Budgell’s at­tor­ney, Bob Buck­ing­ham. “He’s been un­der this yoke for a year and a half now.

“It’s been a stress­ful and dif­fi­cult time and he’s glad to get on with his life.”

The de­ceased was a known friend to Budgell. Buck­ing­ham said his client was, “ex­tremely sad­dened at the per­son’s death, but they weren’t in­vited in, they came in and they in­vaded his house that night.”

Buck­ing­ham noted Budgell has ex­pressed re­morse over the in­ci­dent.

“He did not un­der­stand why a per­son who was a friend had come into his house and he wished things had turned out much more dif­fer­ently,” Buck­ing­ham said. “He acted that night as I say out of fear of peo­ple in­vad­ing his house who were masked; he’s ab­so­lutely to­tally and com­pletely up­set and dis­traught as to what hap­pened to this per­son.”

Buck­ing­ham said the de­ceased per­son died as a re­sult of blunt force trauma to the head.

Budgell was es­corted from the court­room in hand­cuffs, rather than walk­ing out through the doors on his own. He is cur­rently in­car­cer­ated on an­other con­vic­tion with re­spect to a drug charge, un­re­lated to the charges that were with­drawn on Oct. 12, Buck­ing­ham told re­porters. “This was the big thing on his shoul­ders,” the lawyer said. “If found guilty with re­spect to this mat­ter, he could have been fac­ing a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time in prison and it’s been weigh­ing heav­ily on him.”

The firearm re­lated to the in­ci­dent was a ri­fle, ac­cord­ing to O’Reilly, which Budgell was legally al­lowed to have in his pos­ses­sion.

SA­MAN­THA GAR­DINER/THE AD­VER­TISER

Gil­bert Budgell be­ing led into pro­vin­cial court in Grand Falls-Wind­sor on Oct. 12.

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