Police lay arson, mischief charges in firebombing
Three Ottawa men are facing numerous charges following the firebombing of a Royal Bank branch in the city in May. The incident sparked security fears for the upcoming G20 summit in Toronto.
Roger Clement, 58, Matthew Morgan-Brown, 32, and Claude Haridge, 50, were arrested Friday in connection with the incident.
Clement and Morgan are charged with mischief, arson causing damage, possession of incendiary material, and the use of explosives with intent to cause property damage.
Haridge is charged with careless handling of ammunition after police found him to be in possession of several rounds of 7.62 caliber ammunition.
The three men were to appear at an Ottawa courthouse Saturday morning.
A self-styled anti-establishment group calling itself the Fighting For Freedom Coalition (FFFC-Ottawa) took responsibility for firebombing the downtown RBC branch. The attack occurred around 3 a.m. on May 18.
In a video posted online, the suspects said RBC had been targeted because of its support for the Vancouver Olympics, which were "held on stolen indigenous land." They also vowed further action during the upcoming G8 and G20 summit meetings in Huntsville, Ont. and Toronto.
"Their actions do speak for themselves and their willingness to post it publicly is alarming as well," said Ottawa Police Chief Vern White at a news conference on Saturday morning.
White also continued labelling the incident as an act of domestic terrorism, and said he was "confident" the Crown may still end up with terrorism charges.
RCMP assistant commissioner Francois Bidal appeared to suggest more charges were still possible.
"We will leave no stone unturned in uncovering the evidence we have before us now," he said.
But Lawrence Greenspon, the lawyer representing Clement, criticized those remarks.
"Pre-trial comments that attempt to characterize offences are not helpful to the administration of justice," he said.
"There's no talk of terrorism by anybody except our Chief of Police," Greenspon said, adding that the charges laid so far relate strictly to property damage.
The Bank Street RBC branch sustained more than $500,000 worth of damage and remains closed, police said.
Terrorism charges can only be laid with the consent of the Federal Justice Minister and the RCMP, but Ottawa police won't say whether they've yet contacted either about the case.
"That part of the investigation is ongoing," RCMP assistant commissioner Francois Bidal told reporters at the press conference Saturday.
"And to that extent, I won't comment on particular details, only to say that we will leave no stone unturned in considering the evidence that we have before us now, and whatever evidence we may have in the future, before we come to a decision."
With a report by CTV's Karen Soloman