NEWS

N.L. man pleads not guilty to standoff charges

01/19/2012 03:15 EST | Updated 03/20/2012 05:12 EDT

Leo Crockwell, a man involved in a standoff with police more than year ago in Bay Bulls, N.L., has pleaded not guilty to eight charges stemming from the incident.

Jury selection is expected to begin Jan. 27.

Crockwell, 56, doesn't have a lawyer so he will be representing himself. That worries his brother.

"Oh, I think that's a sad situation given what's going on, because he did have a lawyer and that lawyer was excused and now he has no one,” said Bill Crockwell Thursday.

Justice Richard Leblanc appointed lawyer Randy Piercey as a "friend of the court" to help Crockwell. Piercey was also granted the right to cross-examine witnesses on Crockwell's behalf.

Crockwell is facing eight charges, including assault with a weapon, using a firearm in a careless manner, and assault.

His standoff with police began in the first week of Dec. 2010.

The eight-day standoff with Crockwell, who has a history of mental illness, began after police say he allegedly assaulted his sister and threatened her with a firearm.

Crockwell, who slipped away from an RCMP barricade of his Bay Bulls house and was arrested at another home more than 20 kilometres away from the standoff, was denied bail last December.

Last Tuesday, Crockwell told Justice LeBlanc he is still trying to get a lawyer.

At that time, LeBlanc has told Crockwell the trial will go ahead even if he doesn't have a lawyer.

Crockwell is in custody at Her Majesty's Penitentiary in St. John's.

The judge said last week that if Crockwell wasn't ready to enter pleas this week, not guilty pleas will be entered for him.

Crockwell's trial is set to begin on Feb. 2.

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