Oscar Arfmann began his trial in May for the first-degree murder of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson in 2017. The case now goes to closing arguments on Aug. 1 and 2. (Sketch by Jane Wolsak)

Defence won’t call evidence on behalf of accused killer of Abbotsford police officer

Closing arguments in trial of Oscar Arfmann to take place Aug. 1 and 2

  • Jul. 24, 2019 10:31 a.m.

The man accused of killing Abbotsford Police officer Const. John Davidson in 2017 was expected to testify Monday morning during his trial, but his lawyer informed the court that due to a “change in instructions,” the defence would be calling no witnesses.

Defence lawyer Martin Peters informed the court that the case will now be remanded until Aug. 1 and 2 for closing arguments. Oscar Arfmann’s judge-only trial began May 27 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster for the November 2017 fatal shooting of Davidson, 53, a 24-year police veteran.

Outside the courtroom, Peters told reporters that Arfmann informed him Sunday morning that he would no longer be taking the stand.

Peters said he could not elaborate on the reasons that Arfmann changed his mind about testifying.

He said every case is different, in terms of whether a lawyer recommends that a client testify, but the ultimate decision resides with the accused.

“I think there’s generally a reluctance to expose your client to cross examination, particularly in a case like this, where there has been a considerable amount of Crown evidence which would have to be addressed by the client on the stand,” Peters said.

To convict Arfmann, the judge must be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the Crown proved Arfmann killed Davidson, regardless of the lack of evidence by the defence.

With no other witnesses set to testify for the defence, the case now proceeds to closing arguments. The Crown will present its arguments first, and the defence will respond.

READ MORE: Const. John Davidson was ‘ambushed’ by shooter, Crown says on first day of trial

READ MORE: Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop shows man with a gun

The judge will then render a verdict. She could decide to do so at the end of closing arguments, or set another date to do so.

There would be no sentencing hearing, as a conviction for first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence and no parole eligibility for 25 years.

Peters said he could not get into detail about what he plans to present during his closing arguments.

“We have a pretty good idea of where the Crown’s going. It’s been a very long Crown case and quite detailed, so there’s a lot of evidence to address. We’re certainly prepared to do that, and we’re looking forward to that,” Peters said.

Davidson was gunned down Nov. 6, 2017, when he was the first officer to arrive on the scene of a shots-fired call at a business complex on Mt. Lehman Road in Abbotsford.

During opening statements on the first day of the trial, Crown lawyer Theresa Iandiorio said Davidson was “ambushed” by Arfmann and shot from behind. She said Arfmann shot Davidson a second time when he was on the ground and motionless.

Arfmann was arrested not far from the scene after his vehicle was rammed and he was shot at by pursuing police officers. Iandiorio said items found in the vehicle he was driving included a rifle, ammunition and several knives.

About 30 witnesses testified for the Crown during the trial, including those who were at the scene of the shooting, police officers who investigated, a pathologist and a DNA expert.

signoff

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 6, 2017.

Just Posted

City council opts for Greensand Filtration water treatment plant

Williams Lake city council has opted to apply for grant funding to… Continue reading

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

Emergency crews respond to MVI on Horsefly Road

One person was extricated from his pickup truck and transported to hospital

Kind-hearted road worker takes home discarded bin of pet rats at Highway 20 rest stop

Maddy McCarthy said she will find the nine pets loving homes

Feds preparing plane to fly Canadians out of Wuhan, once China gives OK

160 Canadians have asked for help to leave province at centre of coronavirus outbreak

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in August 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

‘I am so sorry’: Stolen Baby Bear statue reunited with Mama, Papa Bear in B.C. town

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

Off-duty B.C. Mountie takes down would-be ice cream thief

Suspect attempted to steal Dilly Bars from Dairy Queen location on Sunday

RCMP to review fatal B.C. train derailment investigation after evidence points to ‘cover up’

The derailment, which occurred on Feb. 4, 2019, killed three men from Calgary

Nanaimo man hit with pole in dispute over off-leash dog

RCMP say no charges recommended at this time

Most Read