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Workplace threat or just a bad joke?

Allegedly displayed handgun in parking lot

An incident involving an Investors Group financial consultant caused a major security stir at one of the financial giant's Winnipeg offices after he allegedly showed a fellow employee a handgun and threatened to kill his boss and a colleague, a Manitoba judge heard.

The company installed panic alarms and security cameras, and police camped outside the Investors Group regional office on Island Shore Boulevard for months after learning of a Nov. 14, 2012 incident that ultimately cost Wayne Trylinski his well-paying job, provincial court Judge John Guy was told at Trylinski's recent uttering threats trial.

Trylinski, 52, has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent.

Whether Guy will find Trylinski should be branded as a criminal won't be decided until early next year. Prosecutors argue comments he's suspected of making to a colleague in the parking lot of the branch after work were meant to be taken seriously and he should be found guilty.

The only witness called at trial was Robert Dalkie, a senior consultant at Investors Group. Dalkie testified Trylinski had pulled him aside after work to talk about issues at the office involving their boss and a colleague who had left Trylinski "frustrated."

They walked out of the building together. "'I got something I want to show you,'" Dalkie reported Trylinski as saying. "'I want to show you my bag of goodies.' "

Trylinski produced a small case and partially pulled out what Dalkie believed was a handgun, one he described as similar to what police carry, he told Guy. "He made a comment that if (the boss) at the company can't take care of the problems, that he's going to take care of the problems," said Dalkie.

"He basically told me that he was going to storm into the office, and he was going into (the colleague's) office and he was going to take care of the f'n problem -- and when I heard the pops going off in the office I should run to the front door," Dalkie testified.

Trylinski also threatened to do the same to their boss, that "he was going to take care of that guy, too," said Dalkie. "The way he was saying it to me, I knew he was joking, but then I'm going, 'Well, he's taken it a little bit too far when you're showing me that,' " he said. "I've never seen a gun that close. I just wanted to get out of there."

Dalkie said he advised Trylinski to "just take it easy, relax." The next day, he came into work and phoned Trylinski, wanting to "read him the riot act" over what happened. A remorseful Trylinski admitted what happened was a mistake, Dalkie testified. "He said it was a joke, that he took it too far... it shouldn't have happened," said Dalkie. Trylinski said the event should just be forgotten and he'd deny it if it ever came up, added Dalkie.

It may never have come to light if Dalkie hadn't told another colleague about it and that person "just freaked right out," Dalkie said. Police were contacted and their investigation led to Trylinski's arrest and suspension from work. Trylinski is not facing weapons-related charges.

"Thinking back, I probably shouldn't have said a word (to the other colleague)," said Dalkie. "Because after that conversation, everything just broke loose." Police came en masse to the office and remained outside during business hours for two to three months, Guy heard.

While he had no intention of talking to police because he believed Trylinski to be kidding, Dalkie did give a statement when they approached him. He confirmed to Guy he stands behind what he told investigators of the parking lot encounter.

That's despite his believing Trylinski's threats were simply idle words from a man he said had a reputation for "showboating" and sometimes saying sensational things. "He wasn't in a rage, and smoke wasn't coming out of his ears," said Dalkie.

"I knew Wayne was joking to me. But everybody I've talked to that's come to see me says that's not my decision to make," he said.

Defence lawyer Dan Manning argued for Trylinski's acquittal, saying anything that was said was meant only in jest.

"We're not dealing with drug dealers... we're dealing with professionals. People that might say something a little too far, but their life is so far removed from the criminal context," Manning said. "He's not a criminal. He had no intent to carry out the threat."

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Comments are not accepted on this story because they might prejudice a case before the courts.

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