November 21, 2013 - 9:36 AM
PENTICTON - A prolific offender is facing jail time and his defence lawyer wants nothing to do with him.
Attorney Robert Maxwell told Provincial Court Judge Gregory Koturbash he was firing his client, Andrew Robert Hardenstine, 33, who pleaded guilty to possessing illegal firearms, drug possession and other crimes committed in mid-September.
Hardenstine was busted on Sept. 11 at 6:45 p.m. when he came out of an apartment building in the 100 block of Roy Avenue carrying weapons, ammo and a bottle of drugs. He fled officers on his motorcycle but collided with an unmarked police car and was apprehended. The cops took a semi-automatic assault rifle, a loaded 9mm handgun, a plastic bottle with 100 ml of GHB and various rounds of ammunition. Hardenstine has also been wanted in Kamloops for a variety of other drug offences.
During Tuesday's session Maxwell became agitated with his client who appeared via video. Maxwell was to make a sentencing suggestion to the court but Hardenstine kicked off confusion by first correcting Crown prosecutor John Swanson and then complaining about his sentence hearing.
Swanson said cops took a silencer or suppressor from Hardenstine upon his arrest but the man denied this.
Hardenstine said the pistol had threads on its barrel to allow a silencer to be twisted on but that's it. He had no silencer, he said.
"I may be a criminal but I'm not a liar, your honour," Hardenstine explained.
Swanson confirmed no silencer was found and the hearing continued. Swanson said the RCMP reported the serial numbers on Hardenstine's hand gun was scraped off but the man denied this as well, saying he found no sign of damage when the gun was his. He suggested the weapon was built and shipped without the serial numbers or someone created the weapon from scratch.
Maxwell countered his client's claim and said every firearm built in North America has a serial number "without exception."
Hardenstine kept talking rapidly about the serial numbers and interrupted his lawyer, the Crown and Koturbash who tried to keep things on track.
At one point Maxwell suggested he was prepared to withdraw and stop representing his client.
"Why do I have to hang around here?" he asked. The defence and the Crown were to present sentencing suggestions to the judge but Hardenstine's serial number concern might mean the evidence will be re-examined.
Hardenstine eventually let the matter of the scraped off serial numbers drop and wanted to continue with the hearing. When Swanson said he had no agreement on sentencing, Hardenstine became more agitated. He said he thought the length of the sentence was already determined. Maxwell said Hardenstine's confusion was his own fault.
"That's why you are in jail, pal," Maxwell said. The defence lawyer told the judge he would be dropping Hardenstine as a client and he could not be ordered to speak with Hardenstine.
Hardenstine appeared shocked and said, nearly shouting, "You're not going to answer my calls?"
Koturbash said, "this is highly unusual circumstances" and told Hardenstine he would have to find a new lawyer. A new court date for Hardenstine's next appearance will be set on Monday.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013