Ottawa: Anarchist pleads guilty to RBC firebombing, refuses to rat out others involved

RBC aftermathCapitalist media coverage:

OTTAWA — The man who pleaded guilty to arson in the May firebombing of a bank refuses to rat out his accomplice.

Joseph Roger Clement admitted to being the first of two men to enter the RBC branch in the Glebe neighbourhood late on May 18. According to video evidence, the first man doused the bank with a liquid believed to be gasoline and the second man threw a Molotov cocktail, starting the blaze.

But Clement’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said Clement taking responsibility doesn’t extend to naming his accomplice.

Clement also pleaded guilty to mischief over $5,000 for vandalizing another RBC branch at 745 Bank St. on Feb. 1.

Charges against co-accused Matthew Morgan-Brown, 32, were stayed due to insufficient evidence.

Claude Haridge, a co-accused in the Feb. 1 vandalism case, was never directly implicated in the May firebombing. Charges against him from the vandalism case were stayed Tuesday but ammunition storage charges laid during the firebombing investigation will be dealt with Dec. 14.

Clement will be held in custody until his sentencing hearing Dec. 6.

Clement, 58, was brought into court in a rumpled tan blazer and blue shirt with no tie. The retired civil servant smiled, nodded and winked at some of those in court, including former co-accused Morgan-Brown in the front row.

“It’s been a long time coming for him,” said Greenspon. “He took responsibility for his actions at the time and he’s now formally taken responsibility in court and will be facing sentencing.”

Crown prosecutor Mark Holmes said there simply wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute Morgan-Brown but said charges could be reinstated within a year.

“If more evidence comes to light, the Crown will proceed,” he said.

Video evidence from the bank fire will be played at Clement’s sentencing hearing next month.

Morgan-Brown’s lawyer, Ian Carter, said the only evidence against his client was that two years ago he had a similar jacket to one worn by one of the firebombers.

He said Morgan-Brown was known to have been part of political protests and investigators perceived him as being among “the usual suspects.”

“They simply didn’t have enough evidence to place my guy as one of the individuals,” said Carter, adding he’s been told the investigation is no longer active.

Carter said Morgan-Brown hopes to get his old job back, but wouldn’t say what that was.

DABC Note: According to Toronto ABC, letters of support for Roger can be sent to:
Joseph Roger Clement
Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre
2244 Innes Road
Gloucester, ON
K1B 4C4

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