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Jason Earle, 25, is escorted out of the courtroom during a break in his trial in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's Thursday morning. Behind him is his father, Billy Earle, who testified earlier in the day, telling the court his son had a loaded gun and was threatening to kill himself when he was involved in a standoff with police on Sept. 3, 2016.
Jason Earle, 25, is escorted out of the courtroom during a break in his trial in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's Thursday . - Tara Bradbury file photo/The Telegram

Jason Earle's lawyer called no evidence at trial in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court

After three days of dramatic testimony, a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge will now spend a week reviewing the evidence before deciding the fate of Jason Earle.

Earle, 25, is charged with a number of offences related to a standoff with police at a home on Barachois Street in the west end of St. John's in September 2016. Among them are charges of unlawfully possessing a prohibited firearm with access to ammunition, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, assaulting a police officer and unlawfully discharging a firearm while being reckless toward the life of another person.

Crown prosecutor Erin Matthews called a number of police officers, a firearms expert, the man who originally owned the gun Jason is said to have used in the standoff, and Jason's father, Billy, to testify at trial, and through them painted a picture of what allegedly went on inside and outside the house the day in question.

The court heard Jason was agitated and suicidal, and had visited the Waterford Hospital that day for mental-health issues before barricading himself inside his mother's home with a stolen gun. He is said to have called 911 to report a distressed man who was armed, dangerous and likely to hurt people.

Billy arrived at the home after receiving a call from Jason's girlfriend and took over the phone call, remaining in contact with police through the operator while events unfolded.

Matthews played that phone call for the court, and Jason was heard threatening to shoot police and himself.

"This is what's going to happen, OK?" he says at one point. "They're going to come in, I'm going to shoot them, they're going to shoot back, I'm going to die.

"I'm not going to jail. I'm going in the ground."

Police heard the sound of three shots fired from the home, and found spent casings, broken glass, and what appeared to be bullet holes inside the home after Jason's arrest.

Jason was arrested after his father disarmed him and threw the gun out the front door, the court heard, then brought him outside and wrestled him to the ground. Surveillance footage captured Jason's arrest and was shown in the courtroom.

Billy insisted his son had not meant to shoot police when the gun was discharged.

"At no time ever did he engage at firing at RNC officers," Billy testified. "Absolutely not."

Jason's lawyer, Jennifer Curran, didn't call any evidence at trial. She told Justice Vikas Khaladkar during her closing submissions Friday morning that the only person Jason was looking to hurt the day in question was himself.

Matthews argued the evidence indicated otherwise.

Khaladkar will return his verdict in the case next Friday afternoon.

tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury


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