RCMP takes over Charles LeBlanc arrest probe
The Fredericton Police are turning over the investigation of an alleged trespass incident involving a controversial blogger to the RCMP.
Fredericton blogger Charles LeBlanc was arrested Wednesday at the legislature. Police say he was arrested after a complaint of "assault by trespasser".
The 52-year-old blogger was released from police custody later that afternoon.
In 2006, LeBlanc was banned from the legislature grounds indefinitely.
The Fredericton Police issued a statement on Thursday, saying the city police force would not continue the investigation.
"The arrested individual is a well-known Fredericton man with recent public dealings with the Fredericton Police Force," according to the statement.
"In light of this fact and in the interest of transparency and good faith, Chief Barry MacKnight has requested J Division RCMP to take over and complete this investigation. This has been agreed to by the RCMP and the transfer of all information and evidence gained up to this point is expected to occur quickly. This will facilitate a relatively uninterrupted timeline for this matter."
LeBlanc is scheduled to appear in court on June 25.
RCMP Const. Chantal Farrah said the RCMP will now investigate the complaint and determine whether any charges are needed.
Meanwhile, Stephen Foulds, LeBlanc's lawyer, said he has yet to contact his client and so has no comment at this time.
The latest arrest comes just days after LeBlanc and his lawyer called for a public inquiry into the Fredericton Police Force's handling of a raid at the blogger's home in January.
LeBlanc, who writes a controversial blog that is often critical of police officers, politicians and legislature's sergeant at arms, had his computer seized and was informed he would be facing charges of criminal libel.
He was accused of damaging the reputation of a city police officer in blog posts last summer.
But on May 4, the provincial government announced it would not be proceeding with criminal libel charges against LeBlanc.
The attorney general said in a statement that section of the Criminal Code of Canada has been deemed unconstitutional in other jurisdictions and it was unlikely a New Brunswick court would come to a contrary decision.
MacKnight was originally going to pick an outside individual to examine the police force’s handling of the LeBlanc file.
But he later decided against that route. Instead, he turned over the file to the city’s chief administrative officer.