Third member of accused Tyendinaga family released on bail

Some of the firearms and controlled substances seized by the Lennox and Addington (L&A) Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) during the execution of a search warrant in Tyendinaga Township, and the County Memorial Building on Dundas Street in Napanee, home to the Superior Court of Ontario, where the four people arrested during the search warrant execution appeared on the afternoon on Monday, May 27, 2024. Search warrant execution photos supplied by L&A OPP; Courthouse photo by Michelle Dorey Forestell/Kingstonist.

A third member of a Tyendinaga Township family arrested on gun and drug charges last month has been released on bail under strict conditions. 

Last month, Joshua Boldrick, his parents Terry and Sharon Boldrick, and older brother Matthew Boldrick were arrested at their home in Tyendinaga Township. The arrest followed an investigation and a raid of the Boldrick residence by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) that uncovered a number of illegal guns and amounts of drugs unprecedented in this area.

Justice of the Peace Deanne Chapelle presided over the virtual Napanee Bail Court for the show cause hearing on Friday, Jun. 14, 2024. Michael Mandelcorn was the federal Crown attorney. Brian Wilcock defended Joshua Boldrick, who appeared by video from Central East Correctional Centre, where he has been incarcerated since his arrest on May 25, 2024.

Early on in the proceedings, Justice Chapelle established with Boldrick that it was preferable to address him by his first name due to the fact that all of the co-accused share the same last name. She also reminded the court that a bail hearing or “show cause hearing” is not a trial; the objective is not to prove guilt or innocence, but instead, it is to prove that the arrested individual is not a threat to the public while they await trial, since they are innocent until proven guilty. 

However, in certain matters, like this one, regarding guns, there is a “reverse onus,” meaning that the onus shifts to the accused person to convince the court that they should be released rather than detained while awaiting their trial. This shift in onus allows serious repeat violent offences involving weapons to be addressed differently from other matters that come before the court. In 2023, changes were made to the Criminal Code’s bail regime to address serious repeat violent offending, promote community safety, and reinforce public confidence in the administration of justice.

At the outset, the lawyers and the Justice of the Peace agreed on the evidence and submissions before the court.

It was established that both sides would rely heavily on the testimony of OPP Detective Sergeant David Horowitz that was recorded during the show cause hearing for Terry and Sharon Boldrick, the parents and co-accused of Joshua Boldrick and his co-accused older brother, Matthew Boldrick. In that hearing, Horowitz had testified that most of the handguns located in the home were in Matthew Boldrick’s bedroom, aside from one loaded handgun found under Joshua Boldrick’s pillow in his bedroom.

“I think it is conceded that a handgun was found under Mr. Joshua Boldrick’s pillow, loaded,” Mandelcorn stated. “No other firearms or drugs were found in Mr. Joshua Boldrick’s room. The Crown’s position is, based on where all the other items found and the circumstances of outlay of the house is, that Joshua Boldrick would have had access to those items as well.”

Wilcock interjected, “I just want to add one point of clarity… it’s not conceded that the handgun was in his room. It’s conceded that that is the allegation that it was in his room under his pillow. We need to have a trial proper to establish [that].”

Wilcock also made sure to point out a statement by the accused’s brother, Matthew Boldrick, upon his arrest: “It boils down to a full confession, Your Worship, which is very important for this bail hearing… it’s quite a bit more lengthy than Joshua’s statement to police, but it’s a very important document.”

Mandelcorn agreed that, in principle, “Matthew took responsibility for all the items found, if that helps, Mr. Wilcock. It’s not necessarily that the Crown agrees with that confession, but Matthew certainly made that statement when talking to Detective Sergeant Horowitz.”

Mandelcorn also added for evidence a list of the number and amounts of items seized at the home. “Just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding, and again without necessarily attributing this to Joshua: 25 handguns and 70 long guns were found throughout the house. Again, mostly in Matthew’s room. In terms of CDSA (Controlled Drugs and Substances Act): cocaine — 194 grams, MDMA — 1982 grams, methamphetamine —1026 grams, heroin — 8.3 grams, 117 pills of hydromorphone, 471 pills of oxycodone, and 220 pills of benzodiazepine.”

Wilcock noted that the sergeant could not remember if there was a lock on Joshua’s bedroom door for sure, but that there was a bedroom door and that “he believes there was sort of a regular door knob which could have been locked.”

The legal counsel then took turns interviewing the potential sureties for Joshua, a married couple in their early sixties who are members of his extended family, to ensure they understood their roles as sureties and to establish their fitness to act as sureties.

Afterward, Wilcock presented his argument, saying, “As always, I will start off with the presumption of innocence. Joshua is presumed innocent until he has had this matter heard by a court… one that can decide his guilt or innocence on these charges… Your worship’s role is to decide whether bail is applicable, but he is presumed innocent of these charges.”

He further invoked section 11 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that a person charged with a crime has the right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause, asserting, “We should consider the circumstances of each case individually.”

The prospective sureties were “outstanding,” claimed Wilcock. “It’s rare that we get people who are so well put-together and obviously in it for the right reasons. They are two individuals that you could put an overwhelming amount of faith in. There’s no question in my mind, and I would suggest there shouldn’t be in Your Worship’s either, that they will treat this role [with respect].” 

Next, he noted that Joshua Boldrick has no prior criminal record, adding that Crown Attorneys often rely on the proclivity of the person to commit a criminal offence to determine if they should be released on bail or not. “So, no criminal record, the presumption of innocence — those two coupled together, in my respectful submission, is enough that he should be released on bail… the best predictor for future behaviour is past behaviour, as Crowns often say.”

Joshua was, in Wilcock’s estimation, in “good physical and mental condition. He’s in a really good place and is completely with it and doing well in life up to this point. Any suggestion of membership in any criminal activities: there’s none here.”

At this point, Wilcock reiterated that Matthew had made a full confession, “taking ownership of all drugs in that house, all guns in that house, and all stolen property. He repeatedly says in his statement, ‘They had nothing to do with it. They did not know. It’s all mine.’”

Because of the large amount of both guns and drugs seized in the raid, Wilcock stated that he knew “the optics [were troubling] and the public interest in this would be great,” but that was the target of the investigation. “There’s nothing that put Joshua on the radar. Nothing indicates that Josh was involved in any [drug] transactions or dealings.”

“Matthew… confesses to putting the gun in Josh’s room, and he indicates that he put it in there for Josh’s safety,” Wilcock pointed out, adding, “Joshua denies any knowledge of drugs or handguns.”

He also argued that although living in the same house, the two brothers had a strained relationship. “If there’s any notion or suggestion that they’re working in concert or together on this, [in his interview, Joshua said,] ‘We argue more than we talk.’”

Wilcock concluded his final arguments by drawing attention to the bail determinations that had already been made for other accused family members. “Lastly, I would ask Your Worship to consider: Sharon Boldrick was released. Terry Boldrick was released. It’s my respectful submission that Joshua should also be released, on the conditions that Your Worship deems necessary to provide for the safety of the public adequately.”

Mandelcorn began his final arguments on the Crown’s behalf by leading the Justice of the Peace through some of the statements that Joshua Boldrick made to Detective Sergeant Horowitz upon his arrest, including that he spends most of his time currently “just sitting at home in my room playing video games. I just got laid off, so I don’t work anywhere anymore.”

Mandelcorn noted that Horowitz had asked when Josh found out the gun was under his pillow. “Josh answers, when they came down and told me I was under arrest.”

“Detective Sergeant Horowitz says, did you sleep in that bed last night? Josh says, yeah.”

Mandelcorn tied these statements together. “We have Josh’s evidence that he spends a lot of time in the room, and we have his evidence that he slept in the bed the night before. So my submission is that relating to the loaded handgun under the pillow, it is an extremely strong Crown case with respect to that part of the allegations.”

Furthermore, to the allegations as a whole in terms of the charges against Joshua he said, “This is a single [family] house,” and noted that although much of the illegal material was found in Matthew’s room, it wasn’t well-hidden. The materials that were seized were found under a bed that had no bedskirt, behind a door that may or may not have been lockable.

Mandelcorn added that the “sheer amount of drugs and weapons found,” which he characterized as an “arsenal” and a “pharmacy,” would make it “inconceivable that the others [in the household] would not know and have some involvement in all of those materials that were found.”

He also pointed out that there was a three-year-old child in the household, and that some of the child’s toys “were found around some of the substances and weapons.”

He agreed that Joshua had no previous record, “but this is a very serious case.” Mandelcorn argued that having a loaded firearm under your pillow could have no other purpose than a nefarious one. “In this particular household, a very young child was in a position to, unfortunately, have access to any of the weapons found, and the danger that could have ended in tragedy [would suggest] that this is not a case where the court can take a chance on the accused being released.”

He reiterated again the seriousness of the totality of the charges against Joshua, not just the charge of having loaded a handgun under his pillow, saying that if found guilty of any of the charges, there would likely be a lengthy sentence in a federal penitentiary.

Mandelcorn agreed that the sureties “are good people, no doubt about it,” but argued that they might not have the required degree of control and moral authority over Joshua. “We have no idea whether Josh would be willing to follow any conditions they would lay down.”

He concluded, “With the number of guns, amount of handguns, all of the [drugs], with a loaded firearm under a pillow, where there’s a young child in the household, I wish to submit, quite frankly, Your Worship… this is one of perhaps a few cases where even a reasonably-informed public would be shocked if there is a release.”

In stating her decision, Justice of the Peace Chapelle noted, “I’ve taken into consideration of seriousness and circumstances of the charges… And above all, I’ve listened to the plan… after hearing from [the sureties], I am satisfied that they understand their obligations and responsibilities with the sufficient means and strict conditions in place.”

She continued, “The allegations are very disturbing, and give me some serious concerns. However, we cannot become so focused on the gravity of the offence and the strength of the Crown’s case as to overlook that there are no categories of offences in which bail is not a possibility.”

“The court feels that with well-scripted and managing conditions in place, Mr. Joshua Boldrick is reliable.” She ordered Joshua Boldrick to be released with $15,000 bail from one surety, $15,000 for the other surety, and $15,000 from Boldrick himself, for a total of $45,000, all of which would be forfeited if he were to breach his conditions.

Boldrick is to live with his sureties and is to remain in their residence between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., except when in the presence of one of his sureties.

Boldrick was further ordered to have no contact with his parents or his brother, and not to be within 100 metres of them except in the presence of legal counsel for the purpose of preparing a defence. He is not to possess any kind of weapon or imitation weapon, and not to possess or consume any unlawful drugs or any substance referred to in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, except with a valid prescription.

Kingstonist will continue to follow this matter as it moves through the court system, and provide updated coverage as more information becomes available.

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