Man facing gun charge testifies at his own trial

NANAIMO – Man facing weapons charge following deadly shootout testified last week.

A man facing a weapons charge following a deadly shootout on Wilgress Road in May 2010 testified in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo last week that he did not bring a gun to the incident.

Simon Phillip Dockerill, charged with possession of a restricted firearm, was initially also charged with murder following the late afternoon incident, which killed John Charles Borden, 47, and injured Dockerill and another man.

But following developments in the police investigation, which satisfied the Crown that the deceased initiated the exchange of gunfire that led to his death and Dockerill responded with an act of self-defence, Crown counsel requested last July that the murder charge be dropped.

Dockerill’s trial on the remaining gun charge began June 10, and on Thursday and Friday, he took the stand.

Dockerill, 34, testified that he met Borden in 2009 when he wanted to rent a unit in the building Borden was living in on Wilgress Road, for use as a tanning salon.

He said he gave Borden, who he understood to be the property manager, money for rent and other things and also lent him money for his personal use, but never occupied the unit.

Dockerill testified that Borden had a gun out when he visited him with a friend in April 2009; seven or eight months before the May 25, 2010 gunfight, Borden produced a knife and threatened him.

Then the only contact he had with Borden was close to the shooting, when he phoned Borden and asked if Borden was going to pay him back, he said.

On the day of the incident, Borden phoned him to tell him he had his money, said Dockerill.

Dockerill drove to Borden’s residence with a friend, Dylan Ambrus, and after some communication by phone, an envelope was thrown out the door of Borden’s upper-floor apartment.

When Dockerill was coming down the stairs, he testified that he felt the velocity of a passing bullet, then he made an attempt to get back in his vehicle, saw Borden pointing a gun at Ambrus in the passenger side and spoke to him to draw his attention away from Ambrus.

Dockerill said when Ambrus made a run for it, he grabbed Borden, who now had two guns, one in each hand.

He said Borden shot him in the hip at the same time he grabbed him and the impact knocked him backwards – the bullet did not penetrate his body because it hit the knife he was wearing on his hip – but he ended up with one of Borden’s guns in his hand and fired it at Borden.

Under cross-examination, Dockerill said he couldn’t remember how many times he fired the gun. “I recall him telling me that it was me or him,” he said.

Dockerill said he lost consciousness after being shot in the leg.

Crown counsel Frank Dubenski questioned Dockerill about why he came to the incident wearing body armour, to which he replied that he was wearing it in case Borden decided to shoot him.

The trial is expected to wrap up Tuesday  (June 25) with closing submissions from the Crown.