Charges reactivated against alleged boat thief

Diane Crocker
Published on March 1, 2014
David Arthur Sharpe appears in provincial court in Corner Brook in this undated photo.
— Star file photo

A man once deemed not fit to stand trial due to mental health issues had 25 charges against him reactivated in provincial court in Corner Brook on Friday.

David Arthur Sharpe, 25, was arrested on June 20, 2013 after he allegedly stole a boat belonging to a member of the Bay of Islands Yacht Club from the marina in Allen’s Cove. He was released on a court order the following day, but was arrested again shortly after when he breached the conditions of that order.

Since then Sharpe has been at the Waterford Hospital in St. John’s.

In November, provincial court Judge Catherine Allen-Westby agreed with Sharpe’s psychiatrist, Dr. Jasbir Gill, that he was not fit to stand trial.

At the time Gill told the court that Sharpe, who she diagnosed as having schizophrenia, could be rendered fit to stand trial if he underwent 60 days of prescribed treatment for his mental illness.

Following Friday’s court appearance, Crown attorney Adam Sparkes said over a period of time his mental health issues have improved.

“Now he can understand the court process. And so now he has to deal with his charges in court.”

Sharpe is facing 25 charges in total — two counts of unlawfully trespassing on land, single counts of theft over $5,000, possession of break-in instruments, breaking and entering other than a dwelling house, theft under $5,000 and 19 counts of failure to comply with the conditions of an undertaking or recognizance.

Sharpe appeared before Judge Kymil Howe on Friday via video-conference from the Waterford.

He was accompanied by his legal aid lawyer, Sandi MacKinnon, and his mother.

Besides reactivating the charges the Crown also consented to Sharpe’s release from the mental health facility on a recognizance. His mother agreed to act as surety for him and was required to post a $3,000 bond.  Other conditions of the recognizance include that he reside with his parents in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips, that he keep the peace and be of good behavior, not consume or possess illegal drugs or alcohol, surrender any firearms or weapons to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, attend all appointments arranged by his doctors and participate in a mental health outreach program. Sharpe indicated to the court that he understands the conditions and will abide by them.

Meanwhile, Sparkes is optimistic that Sharpe will enter pleas on the charges at his next appearance which was set for April 17 at 11 a.m.