Christopher Phillips, accused in chemical scare, seeks early trial

Man accused of possessing dangerous chemicals is seeking a trial in Halifax as soon as possible and will appear in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Thursday to set dates.

Christopher Phillips has been in custody since Jan. 21 when he was arrested after driving from Nova Scotia to Ottawa. Police searched a cottage Phillips owned in Grand Desert, N.S., and say it was filled with chemicals in various states of degradation.

The 42-year-old is charged with uttering threats and possession of a weapon — the chemical osmium tetroxide — for a dangerous purpose.

Phillips appeared briefly in Dartmouth provincial court Wednesday. His lawyer, Mike Taylor, said Phillips wants the earliest possible trial date because he remains in custody, but ultimately may not be found guilty of the charges he faces.

The trial is expected to last five days. Those dates will likely be set during an appearance in Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Thursday.

The court has previously heard that Phillips’ wife went to police with concerns about her husband’s mental health. She told police she feared her children would find his vials of osmium tetroxide.

He bragged to friends about the chemical, and once wanted to display it on the table at a child’s birthday party, court was told earlier this month.
Police searched a home in Cole Harbour and discovered vials of osmium tetroxide in the garage. One was inside a PVC pipe labelled “not a bomb.” Officers then searched the shed in Grand Desert.

Taylor has said the accusation that Phillips threatened police was based on an email that was misconstrued, and his client believes he had the chemicals for legitimate reasons.

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April 13, 2015