RCMP’s defence lawyer knocks report calling for carbines 4 years before Mounties shot

Posted on Posted in News from The Force

Report’s author cross-examined on Day 7 of force’s trial on health and safety charges related to shootings

CBC News Posted: May 02, 2017 8:30 AM AT Last Updated: May 02, 2017 3:50 PM AT

Witness Darryl Davies, a criminology professor at Carleton University, has been studying RCMP policing and training for seven years. (Radio-Canada)
Witness Darryl Davies, a criminology professor at Carleton University, has been studying RCMP policing and training for seven years. (Radio-Canada)

A lawyer defending the RCMP on charges it violated the labour code at the time three Mounties were murdered in Moncton tried Tuesday to poke holes in a 2010 report that recommended patrol carbines be adopted immediately.

Mark Ertel argued the RCMP rejected Carleton University criminology Prof. Darryl Davies’s recommendations because his report failed to meet expectations — not because the force didn’t believe in protecting its officers.

When the force signed a contract with Davies in April 2009, “it’s obvious from the statement of work the RCMP wants to bring in carbines,”  Ertel said.

But Davies’ report was largely anecdotal, rather than evidence-based, and he didn’t follow what was outlined in his contract, according to Ertel.

That’s why more research was needed in subsequent years as part of the force’s due diligence, Ertel suggested.

The RCMP is accused of four health and safety violations under the Canada Labour Code stemming from a shooting rampage by Justin Bourque in June 2014 that saw three Moncton Mounties killed and two others wounded as he walked through a Moncton neighbourhood with a high-powered weapon.

In his testimony Monday, Davies said his 2010 report concluded the RCMP needed to acquire carbines for front-line officers “yesterday.”

Carbines have greater range and accuracy than the shotguns used by RCMP.

Crown prosecutor Paul Adams challenged the defence lawyer’s assertions during re-examination of Davies.

He said the criminologist worked closely with the RCMP’s use-of-force section for roughly a year and no one ever told him he should do things differently.

Outside court, Davies told reporters it was only when Bob Paulson came in as assistant commissioner of the RCMP that there was confusion about the expectations from the report.

“There’s something that’s wrong and it’s called incompetence in the RCMP,” said Davies.

“That they wouldn’t know what reports they’re dealing with, they wouldn’t know what terms of reference they’re using, I think it speaks to the arrogance, it speaks to the inertia and the apathy of senior managers, and the rank and file have a right to work in a safe environment.”

Davies said he can’t go as far as saying his report would have saved lives, but he’s sure it would have started the debate over supplying officers with carbines four years before the fatal shootings in Moncton.

The charges against the RCMP are:

  • 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 it, namely RCMP members, was protected.

Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1 million.

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