Bail ruling today for Halifax man accused of threatening police with chemical

HALIFAX — A judge in Halifax is expected to rule today whether to grant bail to a man accused of threatening police with a dangerous chemical.

The estranged wife of Christopher Phillips told provincial court last week that she is offering to put up $10,000 bail in order to have him released from custody.

Gosia Phillips testified that even though they are separated and she has a legal agreement prohibiting him from entering her home, she is willing to act as his guarantor.

Christopher Phillips was arrested Jan. 21 at an Ottawa hotel and brought back to Halifax to face charges of uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Police have alleged that chemicals found at a cottage and shed in the Halifax area were in various states of degradation.

The discovery prompted evacuations in Halifax and the Ottawa hotel where Phillips was arrested.

At his bail hearing last Friday, RCMP Sgt. Lisa Stuart said the police investigation began when Gosia Phillips came to police on Jan. 19 and told them her husband’s mental health was deteriorating and he was behaving strangely.

Stuart testified Phillips told investigators her husband had osmium tetroxide, a toxic chemical, and possibly uranium and she was worried the chemicals posed a threat to her children’s safety.

Under cross-examination by the defence, Stuart said none of the chemicals found at Phillips’s two residences in the Halifax area were illegal and no charges of improperly storing them were laid.

Christopher Phillips, 42, also testified at his bail hearing, saying he used the chemicals to extract precious metals.

The Crown has argued that Gosia Phillips would be a poor choice as a guarantor because she is busy working as a doctor and it has concerns about her husband’s bail application because the chemicals were dangerous.

Defence lawyers routinely request publication bans on bail hearings, which judges must grant. But the defence for Phillips told the court it wasn’t seeking a publication ban in his application for bail and Judge Alanna Murphy said there would be no publication ban on the proceedings.

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