CBC News Posted: Sep 29, 2017 8:00 AM AT Last Updated: Sep 29, 2017 11:38 AM AT
A judge ruled Friday that the RCMP was guilty of failing to provide adequate use of force equipment and related user training to the Moncton Mounties who were killed or wounded while trying to stop gunman Justin Bourque in June 2014.
However, Judge Leslie Jackson found the RCMP not guilty of charges related to providing adequate training and supervision when responding to an active threat or active shooter event.
He also stayed a fourth charge against the RCMP related to ensuring the health and safety of its members, because he said the first charge already encompassed that issue.
The trial, which began in April and ended in July, examined whether RCMP officers were sufficiently armed when Justin Bourque went on a shooting rampage in Moncton.
In a statement released shortly after the verdict, the RCMP said it will review the decision and consider next steps.
“Today’s verdict will not change the tragic reality that on June 4, 2014, we lost three friends and colleagues — and nearly lost more — to the actions of one man,” the statement read.
The statement says the RCMP will not be commenting further at this time.
The court heard from 30 witnesses, many in tears, in what experts have called a precedent-setting case.
Jackson’s decision was 64 pages long.
Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m. Crown prosecutor Paul Adams said he would like the opportunity for victim impact statements to be submitted for the hearing.
Outside the courthouse, widows of the officers killed in the shooting said they were satisfied with the verdict.
Nadine Larche, the widow of Const. Douglas James Larche, said she’s felt all along that if RCMP members had been properly equipped that day, “my husband would not have died.”
“The father of my children would not have died.”
“I’m happy my husband didn’t die in vain,” said Rachael Ross, the widow of Const. Dave Ross.
The trial’s Crown prosecutor also said he hopes the verdict will have some tangible benefit to officers, but wouldn’t discuss what fines he will be seeking.
The RCMP was charged with violating four provisions of the Canada Labour Code, each carrying a maximum fine of $1 million.
The four charges were:
- Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate use of force equipment and related user training when responding to an active threat or active shooter event.
- Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure their health and safety when responding to an active threat or active shooter event in an open environment.
- Failing to provide RCMP supervisory personnel with appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure the health and safety of RCMP members when responding to an active threat or active shooter event in an open environment.
- Failing to ensure the health and safety at work of every person employed by the organization, namely RCMP members, was protected.
No individual RCMP manager or supervisor was named in the charges.