Final witness in case against accused Westside Road shooter

Crown counsel Duncan MacLeod called upon expert firearms witness Robert Caunt

  • Oct. 8, 2014 12:00 p.m.

KATHY MICHAELS

Black Press

The case against the man charged with attempted murder following a wild 2012 police chase and shootout on Westside Road has been put to bed.

Crown counsel Duncan MacLeod called upon expert firearms witness Robert Caunt, in the last day of his case against Michael Ellis.

Caunt, who has testified in the same capacity at numerous trials and worked extensively with the Vancouver Police, was asked to review a six-page document he created after examining the weaponry and bullets collected in the aftermath of the shootout.

As he traced the steps he took years earlier, Caunt told the court details about the numerous bullets, their casings and twisted bits of metal that he inspected.

The story of those bullets has been largely laid out in previous testimony offered over the five weeks of trial.

They were let loose on at least one civilian and several police officers on the route taken from Mt. Boucherie Road, to the Swan Lake side of Westside Road. The bullets’ final resting places were on roadsides and rammed into car parts. The casings were found, among other places, on the floors of vehicles alleged to have been stolen by the accused and his two accomplices as they tried to flee from police.

The number of weapons that were found and the state they were in, however, offered more questions about what Ellis and his accomplices were up to when they were intercepted by police in July of 2012.

Caunt found each of the weapons in evidence to be prohibited, largely because they had been altered in some rudimentary fashion.

First among the arsenal of guns he spoke about was a semiautomatic rifle, with its barrel and butt cut down.

The barrel should have been around 323 mm, but it was sawed off at the 78 mm mark, impacting its accuracy.

“It could fire as fast as you can pull the trigger,” said Caunt.

He also found a five shot revolver that also had the barrel cut down.

Its trigger was heavy, but it too could have been fired as fast as it took to squeeze off each round.

Another weapon believed to be used that day was a Ruger, model 122, carbine.

This semiautomatic weapon had its barrell cut down to 319 mm from its original 470 mm. It also had an after-market stock attached.

The piece that would traditionally rest on its user’s shoulder could fold down, allowing it to be fired one-handed.

Lastly, Caunt pointed to a poorly constructed supressor. Aimed at muffling sound, it was a glass jar stuffed with terry cloth that had been twisted and shoved into the cylinder. Black tape surrounded it all, and there was space for the gun barrel to fit inside.

The device was “crude” and “detrimental to accuracy,” said Caunt, but it would not have reduced the dangers the gun posed.

Each of the weapons entered into evidence were powerful enough, he told the court, to cause bodily harm and or death.

Ellis, 41, is facing numerous charges, among which are five counts of attempted murder.  Shawn Adam Wysynski, 34, and Ashley Collins, then 19, have already confessed to being accomplices in the crime spree.

Ellis’s defence has not yet indicated whether he’ll bring forth witnesses now that Crown has wrapped up its case.

As is, it’s expected there will be a slight adjournment before the defence portion gets underway.

 

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