Oscar Arfmann began his trial in May for the first-degree murder of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson in 2017. The case now goes to closing arguments on Aug. 1 and 2. (Sketch by Jane Wolsak)

Defence won’t call evidence on behalf of accused killer of Abbotsford police officer

Closing arguments in trial of Oscar Arfmann to take place Aug. 1 and 2

  • Jul. 24, 2019 10:31 a.m.

The man accused of killing Abbotsford Police officer Const. John Davidson in 2017 was expected to testify Monday morning during his trial, but his lawyer informed the court that due to a “change in instructions,” the defence would be calling no witnesses.

Defence lawyer Martin Peters informed the court that the case will now be remanded until Aug. 1 and 2 for closing arguments. Oscar Arfmann’s judge-only trial began May 27 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster for the November 2017 fatal shooting of Davidson, 53, a 24-year police veteran.

Outside the courtroom, Peters told reporters that Arfmann informed him Sunday morning that he would no longer be taking the stand.

Peters said he could not elaborate on the reasons that Arfmann changed his mind about testifying.

He said every case is different, in terms of whether a lawyer recommends that a client testify, but the ultimate decision resides with the accused.

“I think there’s generally a reluctance to expose your client to cross examination, particularly in a case like this, where there has been a considerable amount of Crown evidence which would have to be addressed by the client on the stand,” Peters said.

To convict Arfmann, the judge must be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the Crown proved Arfmann killed Davidson, regardless of the lack of evidence by the defence.

With no other witnesses set to testify for the defence, the case now proceeds to closing arguments. The Crown will present its arguments first, and the defence will respond.

READ MORE: Const. John Davidson was ‘ambushed’ by shooter, Crown says on first day of trial

READ MORE: Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop shows man with a gun

The judge will then render a verdict. She could decide to do so at the end of closing arguments, or set another date to do so.

There would be no sentencing hearing, as a conviction for first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence and no parole eligibility for 25 years.

Peters said he could not get into detail about what he plans to present during his closing arguments.

“We have a pretty good idea of where the Crown’s going. It’s been a very long Crown case and quite detailed, so there’s a lot of evidence to address. We’re certainly prepared to do that, and we’re looking forward to that,” Peters said.

Davidson was gunned down Nov. 6, 2017, when he was the first officer to arrive on the scene of a shots-fired call at a business complex on Mt. Lehman Road in Abbotsford.

During opening statements on the first day of the trial, Crown lawyer Theresa Iandiorio said Davidson was “ambushed” by Arfmann and shot from behind. She said Arfmann shot Davidson a second time when he was on the ground and motionless.

Arfmann was arrested not far from the scene after his vehicle was rammed and he was shot at by pursuing police officers. Iandiorio said items found in the vehicle he was driving included a rifle, ammunition and several knives.

About 30 witnesses testified for the Crown during the trial, including those who were at the scene of the shooting, police officers who investigated, a pathologist and a DNA expert.

signoff

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 6, 2017.

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

Most Read