The RCMP has chosen to be tried by a New Brunswick provincial court judge on charges they violated the health and safety provisions of the Canada Labour Code in connection with the 2014 Moncton Mountie shootings.
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The charges, which relate to equipment, training and supervision, were recommended by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada after its investigation into the shooting deaths of three officers and the wounding of two others by gunman Justin Bourque.
In provincial court in Moncton on Friday, the RCMP, represented by Marc Ertel, elected to be tried in provincial court by a judge.
Ertel requested a pre-trial management conference. Judge Ann Dugas-Horsman granted the request and scheduled the pre-trial conference for April 7.
Ertel said the length of the trial would be dictated by what takes place in the pre-trial conference. He called it a "voluminous and complicated file."
The RCMP will enter a plea to the charges and a trial date will be set at the management conference, said Ertel.
Employment and Social Development Canada, which is responsible for investigating the death of any federal government employee who dies on the job, laid the charges against the national police force in May 2015.
The case was initially scheduled to be heard in Moncton provincial court on July 9, but has been adjourned at least three times at the request of the defence.
List of charges
The charges include:
- 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 of the four charges comes with a maximum fine of $1 million.
No individual RCMP manager or supervisor is named in the charges.
Not trained for carbines
An internal RCMP review of the Moncton shooting noted no members of the Codiac detachment were trained to use a carbine weapon, which is a high-powered, mid-range rifle.
The use of C8 patrol carbines by the RCMP was recommended by an inquiry into the deaths of four RCMP officers in Mayerthorpe, Atla, in 2005.
Const. Douglas James Larche, 40, Const. Dave Joseph Ross, 32, and Const. Fabrice Georges Gevaudan, 45, were shot and killed by Bourque as he made his way through a Moncton neighbourhood on the evening on June 4, 2014.
Const. Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Const. Marie Darlene Goguen were wounded in the shootings.
Bourque, who pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of being paroled for 75 years.