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Police believed Christopher Phillips, on trial in Halifax today, had explosives

06/01/2015 05:00 EDT | Updated 05/31/2016 05:59 EDT
RCMP had a long list of items and materials they were searching for, including uranium, a pipe bomb and other explosives, when they raided the Cole Harbour home of Christopher Phillips, who goes on trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court today.

Phillips is charged with threatening police and possessing a dangerous weapon, osmium tetroxide. Police have said the chemical can be absorbed through the skin and can be lethal.

It's the only dangerous item from the search warrant that's included in the charges. Phillips was legally allowed to possess the chemical.

Phillips forwarded a copy of the search warrant to CBC from his jail cell.

It's unclear if police found any of the other items listed on the warrant. CBC does not have a copy of the information to obtain (ITO), the document RCMP used to persuade a justice of the peace to issue a search warrant. Reporting on what the ITO contains isn't allowed under a publication ban.

Phillips was arrested in an Ottawa hotel on Jan. 21 after the building was evacuated.

The search warrant was issued on Jan. 20, the day before Phillips's 42nd birthday.

'This is an embarrassing situation' 

In the warrant, police said they had reason to believe Phillips "did have under his care an explosive substance to wit a pipe bomb with intent thereby to endanger life contrary to section 81(1)(d) of the Criminal Code."

While a pipe bomb was listed in the search warrant, the arrest warrant issued for Phillips only listed osmium tetroxide to support the allegation he possessed a dangerous weapon.

In a letter Phillips wrote to CBC, he said, "No bombs, explosives, drugs or anything else illegal were found."

"I have broken no laws," he wrote. "This is an embarrassing situation for all parties involved and it would have been best if the charges were simply dropped so that we can all move forward as peacefully and quietly as possible."

In addition to the uranium, pipe bomb and explosives, police said in the search warrant that they expected to find, and wanted to seize, bomb-making material, vials of osmium tetroxide, other radioactive material, computers and other devices capable of connecting to the internet.

Chemical weapons scare possibly triggered by email

Phillips has reached out before to CBC from behind bars.

In April, he sent a packet of material that included a printout of the email that appears to have triggered the nationwide manhunt and chemical weapons scare in January.

Phillips sent the original email to a friend. In it, he talked about building a display case to contain a vial of osmium tetroxide. There's no indication the case was ever built, but Phillips's wife forwarded the email to the RCMP.

The search warrant obtained by CBC only lists an address in Cole Harbour. But police also searched a shed and cabin owned by Phillips in Grand Desert, N.S.

In both searches, neighbours were kept from their homes while police in hazmat suits went through the buildings. They recovered a stockpile of chemicals in Grand Desert.

Police say some of those chemicals had deteriorated and were unstable.

The trial in Halifax is expected to last five days.

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