03/26/2015 09:06 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT

Man charged in Halifax chemicals case to face judge-only trial in June

HALIFAX - A man who was arrested after police found chemicals in a shed and cottage in Halifax will stand trial in June.

Christopher Phillips pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Phillips, 42, has elected to be tried by judge alone when the five-day trial begins June 1 in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

The case is also due in court on May 7 to determine whether the trial dates are suitable.

Defence lawyer Mike Taylor said outside court Thursday that his client wants to have his day in court as soon as possible.

"Mr. Phillips is in custody and he's likely to remain that way until the trial," said Taylor. "It just made sense to get a trial as quickly as possible so he wouldn't waste any time sitting on remand."

Taylor said a pre-trial conference set for April 24 will deal with issues not considered contentious, such as jurisdictions, admission of documents or the identification of substances that are at the heart of the case.

"That can shorten things considerably," he said, suggesting that the trial may be quicker than expected if enough issues are dealt with beforehand.

The discovery of chemicals prompted evacuations in Halifax and the Ottawa hotel where Phillips was arrested in January.

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