Leamington Man Not Guilty of Threatening PM

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A Leamington man accused of threatening Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been found not guilty.

Following a trial Thursday morning, the judge quickly acquitted 61-year-old Royce VanEvery of the charge of uttering threats. 

VanEvery was arrested June 28, 2019 after he visited Windsor-Tecumseh NDP MPP Percy Hatfield's office in Windsor — just days before Prime Minister Trudeau was scheduled to be in Leamington.

During his visit to Hatfield's office, VanEvery was frustrated and was complaining about a federal issue Bill C51.

VanEvery managed to get a hold of the PM's office by phone and left a message — but after the phone call,  VanEvery afterwards was allegedly overheard threatening the PM with an AK-47.

The judge ruled there was reasonable doubt the comments were ever made and it was highly unlikely that VanEvery would even be able to get his hands on a prohibited assault rifle.

"Basically, it is people who listen in on someone's conversation thinking they heard something that was never said," said VanEvery outside of the Ontario Courthouse. 

VanEvery spent six days in custody and says this was a stressful ordeal for him.

"They have no idea what this has cost me, how many days an innocent man has spent in jail now," he says.


 

Defence lawyer John Sitter says he is relieved and happy for this client who was maintaining his innocence all along.

Sitter says his client is not a threat to anyone.

"Mr. VanEvery was being helped, the people at Percy Hatfield's office were very helpful, no one was being malicious, it all worked, it was just a horrible misunderstanding," says Sitter.

In handing down the judgment, the judge told VanEvery 'to be reasonable when you go to these (MP/MPP)'s offices.'