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Alleged conspiracy 'just a game'
Citizen, January 11th, 2000
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Alleged conspiracy 'just a game'
Three accused of plotting death of Brockville police officer
were only role-playing, mother says
The Ottawa Citizen
Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen / Police officers escort
Lance Williams, centre, and Dillon Blair Langlands out of
the Provincial Court in Brockville following the adjournment
of their bail hearings. The hearings were adjourned until
BROCKVILLE -- While a judge and jury may ultimately decide
what was real and what was fantasy role-playing, the two
men and one youth charged with conspiracy to murder a member
of the Brockville Police Service on New Year's Eve will
remain behind bars, at least until Friday.
Lance Williams, 21, of Mallorytown, Dillon Langlands, 18,
of Brockville, and a 15-year-old who cannot be named under
provisions of the Young Offenders Act, all made brief appearances
at the Water Street courthouse here yesterday in a courtroom
packed with relatives, friends and other supporters.
The two men had their bail hearings adjourned until Friday
morning, while the youth will not get a bail hearing until
The two men also had an additional charge -- uttering a
threat to cause serious bodily harm to John Gresswell of
Brockville -- added to their plate.
The youth was also charged with possession of drugs.
On their way from a police cruiser to the side door of the
courthouse, Mr. Williams and Mr. Langlands, who were handcuffed
together, declined to make any comment, biting their lips
and shaking their heads when asked if they had anything
Others, including Mr. Langlands' mother, Wendy, have stated
the men were only taking part in a role-playing game when
the alleged plot was overheard by others as they talked
on a cordless phone.
Witnesses have told police they overheard the men and the
youth discussing a plan to kill a police officer during
the New Year's Eve celebrations in Brockville before stealing
weapons and a police cruiser and heading for the United
Mrs. Langlands said her son and his friends were merely
playing a game called Rifts, in which people take on characters
and create fantasy scenarios, and that police have over-reacted.
At the urging of the accuseds' lawyers, Mrs. Langlands and
other family members were not talking yesterday. And the
lawyers representing the men directed their wrath at police
chief Barry King and his force.
"Far too much comment has been made by the investigating
authorities," said Michael O'Shaughnessy, the lawyer
representing Mr. Williams. "The information released
in this case is unprecedented and, in my view, inappropriate."
Mr. O'Shaughnessy vowed his client will be released from
custody following Friday's bail hearing before a Superior
"My client will be going home Friday," said Mr.
O'Shaughnessy. "He has connections in the community.
He has family in the community. He has people who will stand
by him in the community.
"Prison may be a proper venue for someone who has been
convicted of a crime. But my client has no record, and our
clients do not deserve to be in prison.
"Our first priority is not addressing the legal issue,
but getting our clients out of jail."
In the packed courtroom was a cross-section of the community,
from a clergyman -- the uncle of Mr. Langlands -- to youngsters
in baseball caps and baggy, rapper-style pants.
Family and friends of the accused hugged and held hands.
Some wiped away tears as they greeted each other in the
hallway outside the courtroom.
Brockville police deployed three officers to handle courtroom
security, though there was never any threat of an incident.
The accused showed little emotion and looked straight ahead
as lawyers and the Crown attorney argued before a justice
of the peace over the schedule for disclosure of the evidence
in the case.
Robert Barr is the lawyer representing Mr. Langlands.
He, too, was critical of the police force, and suggested
it had over-reacted due to the hype -- and fears of violence
-- surrounding the Year 2000 celebrations.
"Instead of Paris, or Tokyo, or some other major city
in the world, here we are all involved in something in the
little city of Brockville," said Mr. Barr. "You
never would have thought this.
"And it has been very disconcerting that the only evidence
I have learned in this case has come through the media,
and not the office of the Crown.
"Our clients are too distraught right now to say anything.
I haven't even taken any direction from my client. Our first
priority is to get these men home with their families. My
client has never even been in a jail before."