No trial for Bathurst officers charged in fatal shooting
Justice dismisses Crown's application to have lower court decision reversed
Two Bathurst police officers involved in the shooting death of Michel Vienneau will not be facing trial, after a New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench justice decided Friday not to reverse a lower court decision.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Tracey DeWare dismissed the Crown's application to toss out Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman's decision not to proceed to trial.
DeWare said she found Dugas-Horsman considered all the evidence and did not exceed her jurisdiction when she ruled the Crown had failed to provide enough evidence.
The 51-year-old Tracadie businessman was shot and killed in January 2015 when police were attempting to arrest him in a Via Rail parking lot, acting on a tip Vienneau was carrying "a load of drugs.'
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The tip proved to be false.
Patrick Bulger, 38, and Mathieu Boudreau, 28, were charged with manslaughter in Vienneau's death, but the charges were dropped as a result of Dugas-Horsman's ruling.
The courtroom was packed Friday, with many of Vienneau's relatives in attendance.
Vienneau's family was visibly upset leaving the courtroom, refusing to comment to reporters.
"Not today," said Nicolas Vienneau, Michel Vienneau's brother.
Both Bulger and Boudreau were suspended with pay from the police force after the charges were laid. They have been back at work since being cleared in February.
Their lawyer, Brian Munro, said the officers were relieved by Friday's decision. He said he hopes this is the end of the road for this matter.
"Vienneau's death was a tragedy, but once the public learns all the details, they will see there was nothing criminal there," he told reporters outside the Bathurst courthouse.
A publication ban is still in place on any evidence presented during the preliminary inquiry for the next 30 days, in case the Crown appeals.
New Brunswick public prosecution services requested a judicial review by the Court of Queen's Bench in April, seeking to have Dugas-Horsman's decision overruled.
The office argued that the judge failed to consider all relevant evidence at the preliminary hearing and committed a jurisdictional error.
DeWare heard arguments in Bathurst in late August, with Bulger, Boudreau and about two dozen of Vienneau's relatives and friends in the courtroom.
With files from Gabrielle Fahmy