RCMP showed due dili­gence on ri­fles, lawyer tells Monc­ton mas­sacre trial

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NATIONAL - ALY THOM­SON

MONC­TON, N.B. — The RCMP took time arm­ing of­fi­cers with high­pow­ered car­bine ri­fles be­cause it was do­ing “due dili­gence” on the deadly weapon, a lawyer told the Labour Code trial stem­ming from a 2014 shoot­ing ram­page in Monc­ton, N.B.

“Arm­ing gen­eral duty mem­bers with semi-au­to­matic ri­fles can have neg­a­tive reper­cus­sions, in­clud­ing in­creased ten­sions with the pub­lic, which in turn can lead to of­fi­cer safety con­cerns,” de­fence lawyer Ian Carter told Monc­ton pro­vin­cial court Fri­day.

“Carbines are de­signed to kill. Given what is at stake, it was in­cum­bent on the RCMP to an­a­lyze the is­sue thor­oughly, not for the sake of ap­pear­ances, but for the sake of pub­lic safety.”

Car­bine ri­fles were not avail­able to gen­eral duty of­fi­cers the night of June 4, 2014, when gun­man Justin Bourque tar­geted RCMP of­fi­cers. Crown wit­nesses have tes­ti­fied the weapons could have made a dif­fer­ence in the shoot­ings that killed three Moun­ties and wounded two oth­ers.

The RCMP is ac­cused of al­legedly fail­ing to pro­vide mem­bers and su­per­vi­sors with the ap­pro­pri­ate in­for­ma­tion, in­struc­tion, equip­ment and train­ing in an ac­tiveshooter event.

The force ap­proved the C8 carbines in Septem­ber 2011, and Carter said in his open­ing re­marks the force was study­ing the is­sue care­fully.

He noted Crown wit­nesses have said carbines “could” have made a dif­fer­ence, not “would” have made a dif­fer­ence.

“The real is­sue in this case is due dili­gence,” he told Judge Les­lie Jack­son.

The force also had to fol­low a lengthy fed­eral pro­cure­ment process, he said.

“It didn’t mat­ter how quickly the RCMP wanted those carbines, they could not break the law to do it,” said Carter.

He said ev­i­dence will show the force had high qual­ity train­ing in place at the time of the shoot­ing.

Carter also noted that the RCMP is not re­spon­si­ble for the deaths of con­sta­bles Fabrice Ge­vau­dan, Dave Ross and Doug Larche.

“Justin Bourque caused their deaths,” he said, prompt­ing Jack­son to note that the Crown also ac­knowl­edged that fact in its open­ing state­ment.

Later Fri­day, re­tired deputy com­mis­sioner Dar­rell Madill tes­ti­fied that an in­de­pen­dent re­searcher was hired in 2009 to con­duct a needs anal­y­sis of the pa­trol car­bine.

The 2010 in­de­pen­dent re­port from Car­leton Univer­sity crim­i­nol­o­gist Dar­ryl Davies rec­om­mended im­me­di­ate phase-in of car­bine ri­fles for all RCMP pa­trol of­fi­cers and train­ing for all mem­bers.

Madill said the re­port didn’t tell the force any­thing it didn’t al­ready know and lacked a proper needs anal­y­sis — the man­date of the re­search. He called it an “in­ven­tory list” of car­bine pro­grams at other forces in North Amer­ica.

“There were no risk as­sess­ments. There was no pub­lic pol­icy con­sid­er­a­tions... He didn’t have the ’why’,” Madill said, adding he didn’t feel he could take the re­port to his su­pe­ri­ors as proof carbines were nec­es­sary for gen­eral duty mem­bers.

Madill added the RCMP learned from the 2007 Taser­ing death of Robert Dziekan­ski that in­de­pen­dent, fact-based re­search was nec­es­sary to sup­port weaponry and bol­ster pub­lic con­fi­dence.

Carbines are de­signed to kill. Given what is at stake, it was in­cum­bent on the RCMP to an­a­lyze the is­sue thor­oughly, not for the sake of ap­pear­ances, but for the sake of pub­lic safety” De­fence lawyer Ian Carter

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.