An American arrested in Canada for stockpiling chemical weapons has been acquitted

An American ex-Navy man who was arrested in Ottawa, Canada back in January for allegedly stockpiling dangerous chemicals, including osmium tetroxide, and threatening police, was found not guilty on 24 June by a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge. Judge David MacAdam, who reportedly had heard testimony indicating that osmium tetroxide is a questionable weapon during the trial, agreed with the defence that Christopher Phillips’ email to a friend referencing the possible misuse of osmium tetroxide against police officers didn’t constitute a serious threat.

The judge ruled that the defence did not prove its case, noting that Phillips had accumulated osmium tetroxide long before sending the email in question and there was no evidence that the original lawful purpose for which the chemical had been obtained became unlawful.

Nevertheless, Phillips – an opthamologist – had amassed and stored many dangerous chemicals back in January, and the perceived threat led to the temporary evacuation of his hotel in Ottawa, as well as several homes near where he lived in Grand Desert, Nova Scotia. In 2004, UK authorities thwarted a plot by a group with terrorist links to make a bomb with osmium tetroxide.