NEWS
06/05/2015 11:05 EDT | Updated 06/05/2016 01:12 EDT

RCMP officer felt threatened by Halifax man with cache of chemicals

HALIFAX - An RCMP officer who was contacted by the wife of a Nova Scotia man with a stockpile of chemicals said he concluded comments in an email sent by the accused were a threat against police.Const. Jonathan Fraser testified today in Nova Scotia Supreme Court that Gosia Phillips approached him on Jan. 19 and asked him to dispose of dangerous chemicals that belonged to her husband, Christopher Phillips.Fraser said he initially was concerned about Christopher Phillips's mental health and was checking into whether he needed to be taken to a psychiatric hospital under provisions of the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act.However, the officer testified that after he viewed comments in an email sent by Christopher Phillips he believed the man could harm a police officer."To me it (the email) contained a threat towards police should we try to remove this chemical or deal with Mr. Phillips," he testified."In my mind it ... switched from being just a mental health arrest to being threats and a Criminal Code charge."Phillips has pleaded not guilty to threatening police officers and possessing a weapon - osmium tetroxide - for a dangerous purpose.The incident prompted evacuations in two Halifax-area communities where chemicals were found, and a search for Christopher Phillips that ended with his arrest in an Ottawa hotel on Jan. 21.The court has already heard excerpts from an email Phillips wrote to a friend saying he would send him a container of highly toxic osmium tetroxide.It says the container would include instructions that it is "to be used only in the event of forceful entry by the police.''The instructions also suggest poking a hole in the vial with a stick and throwing "entire box at any police officer that has decided to take up residence on your property.''However, in the next paragraph, Phillips adds, "and I do ... stress that the box will not be designed to actually be used as a weapon.''