Crown considering Campbellton python case charges

Almost a year after the deaths of Connor Barthe, 6, and brother Noah, 4, the Crown prosection office says it is reviewing investigation file

Crown prosecution office says it is reviewing RCMP file on deaths of Connor and Noah Barthe

Brothers Noah, 4, and Connor Barthe, 6, were killed by an African rock python. (Facebook/Canadian Press)
Lawyer Leslie Matchim says he has been told his client won't be charged. (CBC)
Crown prosecutors in the province are reviewing the RCMP file on the deaths of Connor Barthe, 6, and his brother Noah, 4. 

"I can confirm that the Crown prosecutor's office has received the file from the RCMP and is currently reviewing the file," said Lori-Jean Wallace, spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, in an email Wednesday to CBC News. 

"As with all cases, they are reviewed carefully and in a time appropriate manner," she concluded. 

The investigation has been ongoing since Aug. 5, 2013, after an African rock python asphyxiated the boys.

Jean-Claude Savoie, the owner of Reptile Ocean pet store, situated below the apartment where the boys were killed, has not been charged in relation to their deaths.

Bruce Dougan, manager of the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton. (CBC)
​Savoie's lawyer, Leslie Matchim, says he was told his client would not face charges. 

"I've been told, quite formally and officially that my client would not be charged criminally in this matter," he said.

"Nobody has ever contacted me to say, 'look, we're reconsidering our position.' It certainly would be the first time in my 20 plus career that the RCMP would formally advise me no charges and then do otherwise."

Reptile Ocean was an unlicensed zoo and pet store, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Exotic animal task force

The province announced today it is setting up a task force to review exotic animal laws.

Bruce Dougan, manager of the Magnetic Hill Zoo, has been named chair. 

"When you have a tragedy like this, you cannot just not react to it. You have to look at it and say how can we prevent this from happening again," says Dougan.

The group's mandate will be to look into public safety and human health concerns, as well as the trade and possession of exotic animals.

"There is a mishmash of regulation from province to province on what is allowed to be kept and what is not allowed to be kept. I think we need to tighten all of that up from one province to the next."

Dougan estimates it will take the task force six months to review regulations and make recommendations.