Friday, November 12, 2010

Guilty plea in Ottawa bank firebombing

Roger Clement, a retired federal bureaucrat, pleaded guilty to firebombing this RBC bank in Ottawa in May.

Toronto Star Nov. 9, 2010

OTTAWA—A retired federal bureaucrat has pleaded guilty to firebombing a
Royal Bank branch in the nation’s capital last May.

Roger Clement’s plea Tuesday marks an anticlimactic end to what Ottawa
police chief Vern White once characterized as a case of “domestic

The firebombing took on political overtones after an anti-establishment
group calling itself “Fighting For Freedom Coalition—Ottawa” claimed

In an online statement, the group said it was targeting the Royal Bank for
financing Alberta’s oilsands and sponsoring the Vancouver Olympics. The
group also warned it would take further action the following month at the
G8/G20 leaders’ summits in Huntsville, Ont., and Toronto.

Charges against Clement’s alleged accomplice in the firebombing —
32-year-old Matthew Morgan-Brown — have been stayed by the Crown, citing
lack of sufficient evidence.

Charges against a third man, 50-year-old Claude Haridge, have also been
stayed, apart from a charge of careless storage of firearms which is still
before the courts.

Clement, 58, also pleaded guilty to a charge of mischief in a February
attack on another Royal Bank branch in Ottawa, in which windows and
automated tellers were damaged. Three other charges against him related to
the May 18 firebombing in Ottawa’s fashionable Glebe neighbourhood have
been withdrawn.

The three men were arrested with great fanfare about a week before the
June summits.

Clement’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said the low-key resolution backs up
his contention from the outset that the incident was simply “a damage to
property case,” not terrorism. He pointed out that the instigators took
great pains to ensure no people would be injured in the firebombing.

Clement is to be sentenced at a hearing Dec. 6-7.

The stayed charges against the other two men could technically be revived
within 12 months should new evidence come to light. But Morgan-Brown’s
lawyer, Ian Clark, doubted that will occur in this case. He said it’s his
understanding the police are no longer actively investigating the

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