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Accused in Courtenay road rage axe cases must wait to testify

“It basically looked like a scene out of Braveheart”
Police arrested a man on Ryan Road in Courtenay last October in connection with a series of road rage incidents. Bev Dempsey-Orr file photo

A man charged for three axe-wielding, road rage incidents in Courtenay last October will have to wait for his day in court.

However, Lucus Morine had plenty to say as he was led out of the courtroom. He is facing numerous charges and was hoping to take the stand in what was planned to be a one-day, judge-alone trial in provincial court in Courtenay on March 16. The case started with his entering guilty pleas to three counts.

The Crown called its witnesses through the morning and was ready to conclude, with the accused waiting to testify during the afternoon. A question over the admissibility of Morine’s statements last fall during what was scheduled to be a bail hearing forced the case to be put over to March 23.

At the news of the delay, Morine became agitated and started shouting, directing expletive-laden insults at Crown counsel, as sheriffs led the accused out of the courtroom.

Morine was facing eight counts in connection with three road rage incidents on Oct. 26 and 28, 2021: three for weapons, three for mischief and two assault-related charges, including uttering threats.

He was arrested and held in custody following the third incident in which he allegedly used an axe to damage a vehicle in a coffee shop parking lot near the Comox Valley RCMP detachment. The vehicle’s driver was not able to appear because she was in COVID-19 quarantine. Another witness testified he saw the driver of a blue Honda attack the vehicle with what he thought was a large sledgehammer, then called 911.

Two days previous the accused was involved in two altercations in which he is charged for damaging vehicles with an axe. The first took place the morning of Oct. 26 on 17th Street near the Cliffe Avenue intersection in which Morine, driving a blue Honda, almost collided with a commercial vehicle. During an exchange with the driver, Morine got out of his vehicle and started swinging an axe to damage mirrors before fleeing the scene, yelling while he approached truck driver Nathan Holley.

“It basically looked like a scene out of Braveheart,” Holley told the court.

The same morning, Morine was allegedly involved in another altercation with a commercial truck driver near the intersection of Condensory Road and Piercy Road. As the truck driver was heading toward a gravel pit in the Forbidden Plateau area, Morine drove behind the truck, then pulled alongside it. Eventually, he got out an and approached the truck.

“He came at the truck with the axe,” said driver Darren Mancuso. “It was a long-handled axe.”

The charge is Morine used the axe to smash a window and mirror before saying it would be the driver’s “[expletive] head” next time.

“It is the Crown’s theory that there is a threat uttered,” Crown counsel Tim Morgan said.

According to defence counsel Eric Chesterley, Morine wanted to give his side of the story until the issue arose over a transcript of his statements that Morgan wanted to submit as evidence. These statements came from what was a scheduled bail hearing last fall at which point Morine was representing himself, although the hearing did not go ahead and Morine has remained in custody.

Judge Catherine Crockett said she appreciated the accused’s wish to conclude the case in the one day, but she and counsel agreed on the need to look at case law and reconvene in a voir dire to determine the admissibility of the transcript.

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