Pitt father takes blame for guns, drugs

Judge skeptical of evidence, but finds son not guilty

A man accused of dealing drugs from an apartment in Pitt Meadows was cleared of criminal charges Friday because his father laid claim to the illegal stash.

Justice Murray Block found Christopher Leigh Harmes not guilty on several weapons and drug possession charges, although he had doubts about the evidence given by the man’s father, Earl Harmes.

A 9 mm handgun, a M1 carbine assault rifle, ammunition for both, as well as marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and money allegedly associated with drug trafficking were found by police on Dec. 17, 2009 after officers executed a search warrant at an apartment on Ford Road.

Christopher Harmes, who was on probation at the time, was taken into custody and eventually faced 11 charges, including six related to firearms and four counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking a controlled substance.

Following his 27-year-old son’s arrest, Earl Harmes denied knowledge of the guns or drugs in his apartment.

But his testimony changed when he took the stand as a witness for Crown.

Earl Harmes told the court that the guns were bought by him from “some guy” for $900 because “he feared for his life.”

He claimed the drugs, found stashed in the bathroom, bedroom closet and freezer outside, were also his.

The father said he was using crystal meth at the time, and known as “Earl, the squirrel” because of his propensity to hide things everywhere.

He said the large amount of cash found in his home was from the sale of drugs.

Crown pointed to a plastic box found in the same bag as the guns that contained a score sheet, weighing scale and letter from Christopher Harmes’ girlfriend, as evidence that it was the son who was involved in trafficking.

Police, however, were unable to forensically link the son to the drugs or guns found in the apartment.

There are reasons to be skeptical of Earl Harmes’ evidence, said Justice Blok, and one of those is the change in his story.

“He gave evidence that provides a possible explanation for the plastic container in the same bags as the guns. Moreover, he testified he took active steps to conceal the drugs from his son,” Blok said.

“Although I view the evidence with some skepticism, I am unable to say that it is utterly unbelievable.”

Witnesses who give evidence in court cannot have their testimony used against them in other proceedings.

Earl Harmes faces no criminal charges as a result.

Christopher Harmes currently faces similar charges for drug trafficking in Port Coquitlam.