1 of 3 people charged in N.S. mass shooter ammunition case pleads not guilty

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The RCMP blocks the path to Gabriel Wortman's property in Portapique, N.S., during the investigation into the shootings.  (Jonathan Villeneuve/Radio-Canada - image credit)
The RCMP blocks the path to Gabriel Wortman's property in Portapique, N.S., during the investigation into the shootings. (Jonathan Villeneuve/Radio-Canada - image credit)

One of the three people accused of supplying ammunition to the man responsible for killing 22 people last April in Nova Scotia has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

James Banfield, 65, of Beaver Bank, N.S., did not appear Monday in Dartmouth provincial court, but lawyers entered the not guilty plea on his behalf. Banfield is scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 24, 2022. A pre-trial conference in his case is set for June 17.

Banfield is an older brother of Gabriel Wortman's common-law spouse, Lisa Banfield. Both Banfields are charged with unlawfully providing Wortman with ammunition prior to his killing rampage.

A lawyer representing Lisa Banfield was in court two weeks ago and will return May 5 after it was determined her defence's request for a private meeting with the judge and Crown before a plea wasn't appropriate.

The third person charged is her brother-in-law Brian Brewster, 61, of Lucasville, N.S. He is scheduled to appear in court April 19.

Twenty-two people died on April 18 and 19. Top row from left: Gina Goulet, Dawn Gulenchyn, Jolene Oliver, Frank Gulenchyn, Sean McLeod, Alanna Jenkins. Second row: John Zahl, Lisa McCully, Joey Webber, Heidi Stevenson, Heather O'Brien and Jamie Blair. Third row from top: Kristen Beaton, Lillian Campbell, Joanne Thomas, Peter Bond, Tom Bagley and Greg Blair. Bottom row: Emily Tuck, Joy Bond, Corrie Ellison and Aaron Tuck.
Twenty-two people died on April 18 and 19. Top row from left: Gina Goulet, Dawn Gulenchyn, Jolene Oliver, Frank Gulenchyn, Sean McLeod, Alanna Jenkins. Second row: John Zahl, Lisa McCully, Joey Webber, Heidi Stevenson, Heather O'Brien and Jamie Blair. Third row from top: Kristen Beaton, Lillian Campbell, Joanne Thomas, Peter Bond, Tom Bagley and Greg Blair. Bottom row: Emily Tuck, Joy Bond, Corrie Ellison and Aaron Tuck. (CBC)

The trio are alleged to have provided Wortman with .223-calibre Remington cartridges and .40-calibre Smith & Wesson cartridges in the month leading up to the massacre that started in Portapique, N.S.

When RCMP announced the charges in December, the force said in a press release that the three had no prior knowledge of what Wortman would do on April 18 and 19, 2020.

That weekend, he killed 22 neighbours, acquaintances and strangers in several communities while masquerading as an RCMP officer.

The denturist torched his own cottage, garage and other homes over a 13-hour period before being shot dead by police at a gas station in Enfield, N.S.

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