New Brunswick

RCMP's Labour Code conviction may bode well for any civil suits, lawyer says

The families of three Codiac RCMP officers, who died during the June 2014 shootings in Moncton, would likely win any lawsuits filed against the national police force if they chose to sue, says a legal expert.

National police force ordered to pay $550K for failing its officers during 2014 Moncton shootings

A judge ruled last September that the RCMP failed to provide adequate use-of-force equipment and training to the Moncton Mounties who had to stop gunman Justin Bourque. Constables Douglas James Larche, Dave Joseph Ross and Fabrice Georges Gevaudan were killed. (RCMP)

The families of three Codiac RCMP officers, who died during the June 2014 shootings in Moncton, would likely win any lawsuits filed against the national police force if they chose to sue, says one legal expert.

Last week, Judge Leslie Jackson ordered the RCMP to pay penalties totalling $550,000 for failing to provide adequate equipment and training to the Mounties who responded to Justin Bourque's shooting rampage in a Moncton neighbourhood the evening of June 4, 2014.

Gilles Levasseur, a business and law professor at the University of Ottawa, said that because the matter already went through a trial, the elements of the case are already clear.

"You can't just say, 'We'll play it again and go to court, and delay, delay, delay.' That would be the worst thing they could ever do."

Impact on public image 

The penalties levied against the RCMP break down into a $100,000 fine, $300,000 in donations to scholarships to the University of Moncton, $90,000 in donations to other organizations, and $60,000 for an educational trust fund for the children of the three Mounties who died

Levasseur said Jackson's decision has a very large impact on the RCMP and its public image. 

Now, the police force must work to repair its relationship with the public and ensure it puts its officers' safety first, he said.

It's not just something you can toss away. It's the families who are the next victims in the whole picture.- Gilles Levasseur, University of Ottawa

"The reputation of the RCMP, the fact that they broke this link with the community, the people, with it's officers," he said.

"There's also this larger damage out there, and the RCMP has to take the steps to deal with this issue and showcase that it will really take care of the safety of its officers in the future."

If the families did decide to sue, the RCMP would be best to settle out of court, given the damage the case has already done to the force's reputation.

In a civil suit, the RCMP could fight over money, "but it would not be in their best public interest because there's a point in time where you've got to move on from the file," Levasseur said. "Fix the problem, do it right, and move on.

"Three officers are dead. It's not just something you can toss away. It's the families who are the next victims in the whole picture."

No word on civil suits

Outside the Moncton courthouse Friday, Nadine Larches, widow of Const. Douglas James Larche, one of the three slain Mounties, said she had no information about possible civil lawsuits being filed on behalf of the families.

But she did say the trial process has been difficult on her.

"I'm feeling nauseated," she said.

"It's heart-wrenching, it's hard. This is never a place where I would have seen myself."

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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