2 Bathurst officers charged with manslaughter may also face lawsuit

Two Bathurst police officers charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of Michel Vienneau in January 2015 are also now facing a possible lawsuit by the late businessman's common-law wife.

Michel Vienneau's common-law wife, Annick Basque, files motion seeking to add constables to suit against city

Const. Mathieu Boudreau and Const. Patrick Bulger, of the Bathurst Police Force, each faced criminal charges in connection with the shooting death of Michel Vienneau. (CBC)

Two Bathurst police officers charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of Michel Vienneau in the northern city in January 2015 are also now facing a possible lawsuit by the late businessman's common-law wife.

Annick Basque's lawyer has filed a motion with the Court of Queen's Bench in Bathurst, seeking to add the names of Const. Mathieu Boudreau and Const. Patrick Bulger, of the Bathurst Police Force, to one of her two civil suits against the City of Bathurst.

Basque and her two daughters are suing the city, which is responsible for the police force, for damages and loss of income resulting from Vienneau's death, which they contend is a direct result of police negligence.

In a separate claim, Basque also alleges she was arrested using excessive force and without cause on Jan. 12, when Vienneau, 51, was shot and killed outside the Via Rail station. She is seeking financial compensation for damages.

The notice of motion seeking to include Boudreau 26, of Dunlop, and Bulger, 38, of Beresford, was filed with the court on May 31. It is scheduled to be heard on July 20.

The two officers are each facing five criminal charges:

  • Manslaughter with a weapon.
  • Two counts of assault with a weapon.
  • Two counts of unlawfully pointing a firearm.

No pleas have been entered, and the pair had previously elected to be tried by judge and jury.

They will have separate preliminary inquiries, stretching between Aug. 23 and Oct. 7, which will determine if there's enough evidence to proceed to trial.

Michel Vienneau, pictured here with his common law partner, Annick Basque, was fatally shot by Bathurst police on Jan. 12, 2015. (Facebook)
Boudreau and Bulger were charged on Nov. 19, following an investigation by the Nova Scotia RCMP into the shooting death of Vienneau.

The two officers remain suspended from the force, with pay, pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

Court documents filed by Basque in connection with her lawsuits state police were acting on a Crime Stoppers tip that Vienneau was returning from Montreal with drugs when police attempted to arrest him on Jan. 12, 2015.

In its statement of defence, the City of Bathurst said the police officers fired in self-defence after Vienneau's car accelerated without warning and pinned one of the officers against a snowbank.

Nova Scotia RCMP said they found no evidence in their investigation that Vienneau was involved in illegal activity.

With files from Bridget Yard