New Brunswick

Bathurst shooting victim's widow will get names of officers involved

Annick Basque has won the right to learn the names of the Bathurst police officers involved in the fatal shooting of her common law partner, Michel Vienneau, on Jan. 12, so she can pursue legal action against them.

Annick Basque plans to sue for death of Michel Vienneau in what police say was drug-related probe

Michel Vienneau, pictured here with his common law wife, Annick Basque, was fatally shot by Bathurst police on Jan. 12. (Facebook)

The common law partner of a man who was shot and killed by Bathurst police in January has won the right to learn the names of the officers involved, so she can pursue legal action against them.

Annick Basque filed a motion with the Court of Queen's Bench on Feb. 12 over the death of Michel Vienneau, 51, of Tracadie-Sheila, and her arrest and detention immediately following the Jan. 12 shooting.

Vienneau was fatally shot by police outside the Bathurst Via Rail station, just after Basque says they were returning from watching a hockey game in Montreal.

Police said the following week that Vienneau had been shot during an investigation being conducted with the New Brunswick RCMP, but have not spoken publicly since.

Documents filed with the court in Bathurst indicate the investigation was related to drug trafficking.

Chief objected, citing officer safety

An affidavit from Bathurst City Police Chief Eugene Poitras also suggests the possible involvement of organized crime.

Poitras filed the affidavit, objecting to the officers' names being released, arguing it would put them in danger.

He says security of the officers after the incident was so tenuous, alarm systems had to be installed in their homes.

The fatal shooting occurred outside the Via Rail station in Bathurst. (Bridget Yard/CBC)
One officer actually moved his family to another house, while another took to wearing a bullet-proof vest when clearing snow from his property, said Poitras.

Basque, 39, alleges police were negligent.

She says she didn't hear the plainclothes officers identify themselves, so when she and Vienneau saw people running toward them with guns, Vienneau tried to drive away.

At the time of the incident, there had been news reports about various acts of terrorism, including the Charlie Hebdo and Ottawa attacks, said Basque.

It was only after Vienneau had been shot and she was being pulled out of the car and arrested that she realized they were officers, she said.

Basque was freed that afternoon, after being told Vienneau had died from his injuries, according to the documents.

She says she was told her arrest had to do with drugs, but she maintains neither she nor Vienneau were involved in drugs or trafficking.

Justice Larry Landry decided to release the identities and addresses of the officers involved to Basque and her lawyer.

They will not, however, be allowed to disclose that information publicly, the judge ruled.

The officers will be known in court proceedings as Jean Policier and Joseph LeFlic.

Nova Scotia RCMP continue to investigate the shooting.