A charge of possession of a controlled substance against Washington Capitals center Mike Richards was stayed in a Manitoba court on Wednesday, meaning prosecutors will not move forward with the case.
In a statement, Richards’s attorney, David M. Humphrey, said after the prosecution’s brief was disclosed to the defense, Richards’s counsel advised the prosecution of “fatal defects” in its case. Both sides then agreed that more investigation was warranted, and with that investigation completed, the prosecution decided to stay the charge.
Unlike charges that have been withdrawn completely, stayed charges can be brought back within one year, though that tends to happen rarely.
“Mr. Richards wishes to extend his heartfelt appreciation to his loyal fans and especially to his parents, brothers, extended family and friends for their love and support,” the statement said. “Mr. Richards is now entirely focused on his hockey career and he and his legal counsel will not be commenting further on the successful resolution of this charge.”
Richards had a hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, but the trial was then adjourned to Feb. 25. At the time, Humphrey said in an email that the adjournment was at the prosecutor’s instruction because the defense was awaiting the results of a further investigation.
Richards was charged in August by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with possession of a controlled substance after allegedly trying to import oxycodone at the North Dakota-Canadian border in June. The Los Angeles Kings terminated his contract on June 29, and the players’ union filed a grievance on his behalf.
In October, the Kings and NHL Players’ Association reached a settlement in which Richards would receive about $10.5 million of the $22 million remaining on his contract. He signed a $1 million, one-year prorated deal with the Capitals earlier this month and has played in 15 games this season and scored the game-winning goal against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday.