The second of three men accused of being involved in a 2014 Polson Park shootout has been cleared of five charges levied against him.
Justice Kent found Robin James Rochemont, born in 1980, not guilty of discharging a firearm, intentional discharge of a firearm, possession of a loaded restricted firearm, carrying a concealed weapon and carrying or having in his possession a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace in Supreme Court in Kelowna. The decision came June 2, the day after Rochemont’s four-day trial on the matter concluded.
Crown counsel called 16 witnesses, including eight lay witnesses and eight RCMP officers, during the trial, while defence called no witnesses.
Kent said Crown did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Rochemont was guilty of any of the charges.
“If reasonable doubt exists as to whether Mr. Rochemont even had a gun in his hand, let alone participated in the gunshot exchange, he must be acquitted of all of the offences with which he is charged,” wrote Kent in his 22-page decision.
Rochemont was accused of shooting at Jacob Daniel Lowes in the park before 8 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2014.
Kent said his decision was reinforced by the absence of certain types of evidence in the case. No handguns of any sort were retrieved from the scene and put into evidence; there was no evidence of Rochemont’s DNA or fingerprints being present on any physical evidence; and the gunshot residue testing of Rochemont and his clothing undertaken upon his arrest that same day was negative.
“While none of these things are in and of themselves determinative, the collective absence of such evidence can reasonably serve to raise some doubt about the extent of Rochemont’s involvement, if any, in the gunfire exchange at Polson Park the morning of Aug. 12, 2014,” said Kent.
Lowes, born in 1985, was found not guilty of attempted murder but guilty on the lesser included offence of assault causing bodily harm in Supreme Court in Vernon in April. He is slated to be sentenced next week.
The third suspect in the shooting remains in custody and is slated to appear again in Supreme Court in Vernon later this month.