This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Court has decided that the RCMP corporal who made headline news for smoking medicinal marijuana while in uniform is fit to stand trial on a charge of assaulting a police officer in Fredericton. Cpl. Ron Francis was made to appear in a provincial court in Fredericton on Monday, at the end of his 30-day psychiatric assessment in the Restigouche Hospital Centre in Campbellton, which was ordered on Dec. 7.
Mr. Francis was arrested by the authorities on Dec. 6 in Fredericton because he had a bitter confrontation with fellow Mounties and Fredericton police officers. Francis chose not to enter a plea to the charge on Monday while his lawyer, T. J. Burke, asked the court for more time to review the disclosed evidence. Now, the court has ordered Francis to enter a plea before Feb. 4. The Crown prosecutor agreed to allow Francis to be released, though with conditions, until his next court appearance. Francis’s RCMP uniform was confiscated and he was placed on a medical leave for smoking marijuana in November, when a video of him smoking in his ceremonial dress appeared online. Later, Francis revealed to have a prescription for the drug to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Soon after his arrest, Burke questioned the RCMP’s motives for seeking a psychiatric assessment of Francis. Burke questioned “was it a legitimate document? Was it a valid document?” while also inquiring “was it a document that was just created by the RCMP to see Mr. Francis sent away for 30 days so he would stop speaking about his issue with regards to medicinal marijuana to the press?”