Update: Man charged following standoff deemed mentally fit to stand trial

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A man facing charges after an armed standoff with police at a home on Thorburn Road in St. John’s has been deemed mentally fit to stand trial.

Dwight Jonathan Saunders — who turns 27 on Friday — was back in provincial court in St. John’s today following a lunch-hour assessment.

He’s scheduled to return Wednesday for a bail hearing.

Saunders is facing charges of possessing firearms and ammunition while prohibited from doing so, careless use of a firearm, and breach of probation.

Late Monday morning the RNC responded to a report that an armed man had barricaded himself inside a house.

Several homeowners in the immediate area were evacuated and a portion of Thorburn Road was closed at the time.

RNC crisis negotiators established communication with the man. He was later apprehended without incident and two firearms — a 12-gauge shotgun and a 303 rifle — were safely removed from the residence.

Saunders is no stranger to the courts.

He has several convictions on his lengthy criminal record, including assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, break and enters, mischief, theft, assaults, uttering threats, possessing drugs, failing to stop at the scene of an accident, failing to comply with a sentence and several breaches of court orders.

However, the most notable court happened more than three years ago.

In May 2010, Saunders was given a 14-month jail term for sexually assaulting a woman with a disability and stealing her computer.

As part of his sentence, Saunders  had his name listed on the national sex offenders registry for 20 years.

He was found guilty of sexual assault and theft under $5,000 by a jury in April 2010 following a two-week trial at Newfoundland Supreme Court.

Saunders’ conviction stemmed from a November 2008 party, during which the 19-year-old woman was assaulted at her apartment.

She has mitrochondrial disease, a neuromuscular disorder that affects speech, sight, hearing, motor skills and balance. Because of her speech difficulties, she had to testify at the trial using a computer.

 

 

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(Earlier story)

Man in court today to face charges from armed standoff

A man facing charges after an armed standoff with police at a home on Thorburn Road in St. John’s Monday appeared in provincial court this morning.

Dwight Jonathan Saunders, 26, is facing charges of possessing firearms and ammunition while prohibited from doing so, careless use of a firearm, and breach of probation.

He was sent for a lunch-hour assessment and will be back in court this afternoon.

Late Monday morning the RNC responded to a report that an armed man had barricaded himself inside a house.

Several homeowners in the immediate area were evacuated and a portion of Thorburn Road was closed at the time.

RNC crisis negotiators established communication with the man. He was later apprehended without incident and two firearms — a 12-gauge shotgun and a 303 rifle — were safely removed from the residence.

Geographic location: Thorburn Road

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