RCMP officer testifies in case of man accused of having chemical stockpile

WATCH: Christopher Phillips, the man at the centre of a chemical spill that spanned two provinces, was in court today for the first day of his trial. Natasha Pace has the details.

HALIFAX – The case of a man whose chemical stockpiles prompted police to order evacuations in two cities opened Monday with testimony from an RCMP officer who said Christopher Phillips was considered a threat to public safety.

Sgt. Lisa Stuart told Nova Scotia Supreme Court that police came to that conclusion early in their investigation based on long, rambling emails from Phillips, which had been turned over to police by Phillips’ wife in late January.

Stuart says it was clear from the emails that Phillips was suffering from a “diminished mental capacity,” and she read from emails that referred to osmium tetroxide, a highly toxic substance that Phillips suggested could be used to throw at police.

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In other emails, Phillips muses about a plan he had to refine uranium, and he worries about having “illegal thoughts” about what he described as a “billionaire’s weapon of terror.”

Phillips is charged with threatening police officers and possessing a weapon – osmium tetroxide – for a dangerous purpose.

He was arrested in January in an Ottawa hotel after it was evacuated by police.

Neighbourhoods in Halifax and Grand Desert, N.S., were also evacuated after police found osmium tetroxide at two locations and a large collection of chemicals inside a shed in Grand Desert.