Taking a dim view of his argument that he was just doing some yard work for his mother, a judge has convicted a man of assaulting a police officer in Trail last October.
Judge Craig Sicotte found Sheldon Matteucci, 41, guilty in Castlegar Provincial Court of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and resisting a police officer.
The Crown previously conceded it had not proven a charge of breach of a release order while the defence conceded Matteucci was guilty of the resisting count. That left it to Sicotte to decide the two more serious charges.
In convicting him of both crimes, Sicotte said Matteucci’s evidence was “in conflict with other witnesses and at times with common sense.”
Police said they responded to a complaint of Matteucci causing a disturbance in the 2000 block of Daniel Street. When an officer arrived and tried to arrest him, he “immediately became aggressive” toward the officer and walked toward him with two large knives. They said Matteucci refused to drop the knives or comply with their directions.
The officer then fired a taser at Matteucci, which temporarily disabled him and removed the knives from his hands. However, he was only taken into custody following a “lengthy and violent struggle” that resulted in two officers being injured. One was treated in hospital for a serious cut to his hand.
Matteucci, however, testified that he was struck with a baton and pepper sprayed during the confrontation, but the judge said that was not witnessed by anyone else and would make no sense, as pepper spray would have affected everyone.
Matteucci also said he did not fight back, but this was contradicted by all of the Crown witnesses.
Matteucci said the knives in question were gardening tools he was using to cut down brush for his mother, something she confirmed. But while that may have been the case, Matteucci was using them as weapons, Sicotte ruled.
Sicotte said he accepted Matteucci suffered a broken shoulder and damaged ribs in the incident, but otherwise rejected his evidence.
The judge ordered a pre-sentence report with a psychological component. Matteucci, who appeared by video link from jail, will return to court Sept. 15 in Rossland to fix a date for sentencing. His trial was held in April and May.
“Trail RCMP is satisfied with the guilty verdict against Mr. Matteucci,” Sgt. Mike Wicentowich said in a news release.
“The two officers who responded to this incident received high praise from the witnesses for their professionalism when arresting Mr. Matteucci. Both officers demonstrated courage and tenacity when maintaining public safety in the most challenging of circumstances.”
One of the officers continues to recover from the incident, Wicentowich said, and has not yet returned to work.