British Columbia

B.C. judge stays case against 3 Mounties

A Prince George, B.C., judge has stayed a case against local RCMP officers charged with speeding, citing unreasonable delays in the case.

Officers had been charged with speeding

A Prince George, B.C., judge has stayed a case against local RCMP officers charged with speeding, citing unreasonable delays in the case.

It's alleged the three off-duty officers were riding their motorcycles at speeds of 40 kilometres over the speed limit on Highway 16 west of Prince George in May 2009 when they sped past a fellow officers on traffic patrol.

When the officer tried to stop them, the trio allegedly drove away. They were eventually pulled over and the Mounties were charged with excessive speeding and failing to stop for police.

But — after more than 20 court appearances — the charges were thrown out last month because of delays of more than two years.

"Proceedings were judicially stayed by Judge Ron Tindale on the basis that it had taken an unreasonable time to get the matter to trial," said Crown spokesperson Neil McKenzie.

"That's the end of the matter at this point. The Crown has concluded we will not appeal the decision."

Officers faced internal discipline

McKenzie blames most of the delays on demands for disclosure by the officer's lawyer.

"It was partly as a result of delays in disclosure of material requested by defence," he said. "I think the fact they were RCMP officers factored into the material they asked to be disclosed by the defendants in this case."

The judge's ruling shows the trio's lawyer asked for a large number of documents to be disclosed, including all internal RCMP emails about the case and the complete RCMP internal disciplinary investigation.

The judge ruled the RCMP took too long to produce the documents, so the case was thrown out.

The RCMP, meanwhile, says all three officers did face internal discipline.

"They were disciplined under the RCMP Act," said Cpl. Annie Linteau. "Discipline is intended to be a corrective measure."

The RCMP will not release details about how the three officers were disciplined, but says all three are now back on duty.

With files from the CBC's Betsy Trumpener