Christopher Phillips, charged in hazardous chemicals case, remanded until Feb. 5

HALIFAX – A man accused of possessing dangerous chemicals and uttering threats made a brief appearance in a Dartmouth court Thursday where he was remanded until Feb. 5.

Christopher Burton Phillips, 42, was charged after police found a variety of containers of unstable chemicals at a cottage in Grand Desert, N.S. He was arrested in an Ottawa hotel a week ago.

At the time, two areas in Halifax were under evacuation orders over concerns about the chemicals.

Mike Taylor, Phillips’s lawyer, said the threat his client allegedly made against police was done via email to a third party. Taylor said he believes the heavy police presence, evacuation of several homes and international attention on case paints his client in a bad light.

“It makes him look like a very scary person and that may not be the case all,” Taylor told reporters Thursday afternoon.

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RCMP say the cottage and shed on Dyke Road  at the center of the investigation were packed floor to ceiling with dozes of different types of chemicals, which experts are still working to identify.

READ MORE: Osmium tetroxide: what is it and why is it dangerous?

The only chemical known to have been in Phillips’s possession is osmium tetroxide, which according to the Crown attorney on the case, is not necessarily illegal.

“From what I understand, [he] is allowed to have up to 494 pounds of that,” said Terri Lipton. “I’m told that he didn’t have anywhere near that.”

Lipton said there are numerous chemicals a person can legally possess.

“When you start to use it, amassing large amounts of it and depending on what it is specifically you’re doing with it, it can cause concern,” she said. “There are lots of things on their own that aren’t illegal but it depends on how they’re being used.”

Taylor is working to get Phillips released on bail, and doesn’t believe the charges will hold up in court.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if at the end of the day, when they determine a full shopping list of what was there and have a look at what the substances are and what they are used for, they’ll be satisfied there was no real danger,” he said.

Christopher Phillips covers his face as he enters Dartmouth Provincial Court.
Christopher Phillips covers his face as he enters Dartmouth Provincial Court on Thursday. Ray Bradshaw / Global News

With files from The Canadian Press

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