In the early morning hours of Dec. 29, 2014, in the small town of English Harbour East, Fortune Bay, a night of drinking resulted in an escalating series of events that led to one man, Timothy Hackett, 36, being charged with serious offences.
He’s been in jail since, after being denied release on bail by the provincial court and, most recently, the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court trial division.
A judgment filed on Wednesday outlines the alleged events of that night, and the reasons Hackett has been denied bail, again.
Hackett was with a group of men from the community who attended a dance at the local Lions Club the evening of Dec. 28, 2014, and who gathered at the shed of Jeff Clarke’s father following the dance, which ended at 2 a.m.
Hackett and Jeff Clarke got into a fight, which resulted in the chimney being knocked off the woodstove in the shed.
Hackett left, threatening to get a gun, and returned soon after at the edge of the driveway firing shots into the air.
Clarke and his cousin, Justin, approached Hackett and disarmed him. Another man, Corey Kearley, after exchanging words with Hackett, approached Hackett to fight. Kearley fell, hit his head and received a serious injury to his face and eye area that requires ongoing medical attention.
Hackett, who has a lengthy criminal record, was later arrested by the RCMP and charged with aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, careless use of a firearm and breach of probation.
He pleaded not guilty, elected to be tried by judge and jury, and was denied bail in provincial court. While no trial date has been set, Hackett applied to the Supreme Court for a bail review.
Justice Garrett Handrigan denied Hackett’s application for bail, taking into account his criminal record — which included several assaults, break and enters, forcible confinement and breaches of court orders — and also his apparent inability to refrain from alcohol.
“It also follows that residents of English Harbour East know Timothy Hackett well and have an abiding sense of the many crimes he has committed in the last 20 years,” the decision states.
“In fact, Mr. Hackett has bullied and abused some of them. … The residents of English Harbour East are reasonable people; they expect to live their lives peaceably and to be spared harassment and intimidation; they expect the justice system to protect them; and they understand that while Mr. Hackett has rights, he can also be a menace.
“It appears that Mr. Hackett had easy access to a shotgun on Dec. 29, 2014 and that he fired it indiscriminately several times; and that he violated the conditions of his probation, especially by consuming alcohol. If convicted of only these offences, Mr. Hackett is likely to receive a substantial jail term because of his criminal record. Of course, any time Mr. Hackett brandishes a firearm, especially while intoxicated, he poses a grave risk to the public.”
The judge found Hackett posed a danger to the public and that the public’s confidence in the administration of justice would be shaken if he is released. He will remain in custody until his trial on the charges.