HALIFAX — A man accused of unlawfully providing ammunition to the gunman who killed 22 people in Nova Scotia two years ago has withdrawn his guilty plea and will instead take part in a restorative justice process.
Crown prosecutor Mark Heerema confirmed that James Banfield agreed Wednesday to take part in the process once a number of changes were made.
Banfield's lawyer, Michelle James, said her client had initially wanted to participate in restorative justice, but the original proposal involved a large number of participants, including people from Portapique, N.S. — the village where the gunman's rampage started.
James confirmed that a small number of people will now be taking part, which she said makes it more likely the process will be successful.
Heerema stressed that Banfield has from the beginning accepted responsibility for his actions and has co-operated with police.
Banfield's sister, Lisa Banfield — the gunman's common-law spouse — and their brother-in-law Brian Brewster were also charged with supplying ammunition to the gunman.
Police have said all three had no prior knowledge of the killer's plans, and Lisa Banfield and Brewster had earlier chosen to take part in restorative justice.
For those who successfully complete the restorative justice process, there is no trial and all criminal charges are dropped.
Nova Scotia's restorative justice program typically brings together people accused of crimes with their victims to work together on some form of resolution and healing.
The three accused were alleged to have provided Wortman with .223-calibre Remington cartridges and .40-calibre Smith and Wesson cartridges in the month leading up to the massacre.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2022.
The Canadian Press