A judge has ruled Noel Harder, a former police informant, will remain behind bars and denied his release on $5,000 bail.
Judge Natasha Crooks said while she has no doubts the 39-year-old lives in fear, Harder put innocent people at risk by arming himself with a loaded handgun for his own protection in a Saskatoon residential area.
During her decision on Tuesday at provincial court, Crooks said Harder used unlawful measures to protect himself and that it was clear he was ready and willing to use lethal force if he felt he needed to.
Harder was arrested just after 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 25 near the intersection of Powe Street and Rayner Avenue.
Inside the SUV he was driving, officers recovered a loaded 9-mm Glock with a bullet in the chamber along with ammunition, a knife, an imitation firearm, bear spray, an axe and fentanyl.
Harder faces 26 drug and weapons-related charges.
During his bail hearing, Harder’s lawyer did not deny the fact that his client had a gun but argued Harder had two choices: arm himself or risk getting killed.
Harder helped police with one of the biggest take-downs in Saskatchewan’s history. Project Forseti resulted in the recovery of $8-million worth of drugs, hundreds of guns and led to 20 convictions.
WATCH BELOW: Lawyer says former police informant Noel Harder armed himself or risked getting killed
Linh Pham, Harder’s lawyer, told court his client was under the mistaken belief his firearm prohibition had expired and was encouraged by high ranking members of the Saskatoon Police Service to arm himself.
On the day of his arrest, defence counsel said Harder was under the sneaking suspicion he was being set-up or about to be kidnapped when he went to purchase a used TV hence the weapon.
“There appears little question Mr. Harder is fearful but there is also little evidence the attack or set-up he perceived in that moment was imminent or unavoidable,” said Crooks.
“As I have noted he could have left this residential area or contacted the police to assist him.”
Crooks went onto say Harder’s fear under a ‘constant threat of danger’ has resulted in feelings of entitlement to carry a series of weapons that Harder believes are justified given the circumstances.
WATCH BELOW: Police informant Noel Harder facing weapons charges in Saskatoon
If Harder was released, she said there could be serious consequences if he were to re-offend.
She also noted the fact Harder was applying for firearms licencing indicated to her he was aware that he did not have the authority to possess some of the weapons coupled with his lifetime prohibition for possessing restricted firearms.
Harder, who has spent much of his time in segregation for his own safety while in custody, is now due back in court on Oct. 24.