New Brunswick

2 Bathurst police charged in Michel Vienneau's death begin preliminary hearing

The preliminary inquiry into the case of two Bathurst police officers charged in the shooting death of Michel Vienneau began Tuesday morning.

Michel Vienneau died Jan 12, 2015, after shots were fired at Bathurst Via Rail station by police

Patrick Bulger, left, and Mathieu Boudreau, right, enter the courthouse together on Day 1 of their preliminary hearing. The Bathurst city police officers are facing manslaughter charges in the death of Michel Vienneau

The preliminary inquiry into the case of two Bathurst police officers charged in the shooting death of Michel Vienneau began Tuesday.

Const. Patrick Bulger, 38, of Beresford and Const. Mathieu Boudreau 26, of Dunlop attended the hearing with their spouses. Both are charged with manslaughter as well as other charges.

In addition to Bulger, Boudreau, and their families, dozens of police supporters filled the courtroom, along with several reporters.

Michel Vienneau and common law partner, Annick Basque, were coming off a Via Rail train from Montreal. (Facebook)
Vienneau's family, including his brother, sat in the first row of the courtroom Tuesday, across from the defendants. The family exchanged several knowing glances during the testimony.

Any testimony heard in court during the preliminary inquiry is subject to a publication ban and cannot be reported.

Vienneau died on Jan. 12, 2015 when he was shot in the parking lot of the Via Rail station in Bathurst after getting off a train from Montreal.

Vienneau's partner absent

Annick Basque, Vienneau's partner, who was with him when he died, was absent. She has yet to appear in Bathurst court, though she has filed two different civil lawsuits related to the case.

In court documents filed in connection with a lawsuits against the city of Bathurst for negligence, Mathieu Boudreau is identified as the officer who shot Vienneau.

In the same documents, it was revealed Bathurst police were acting on a Crime Stoppers tip when they stopped Vienneau and Basque coming off a train from Montreal.

Nova Scotia RCMP also told reporters after they completed their investigation into the incident, that they found Vienneau was not involved in any criminal activity.

Michel Vienneau's family enters the Bathurst courthouse on the first day of the preliminary hearing of Bathurst police officers Boudreau and Bulger
Officers Boudreau and Bulger are each charged with manslaughter with a weapon, assault with a weapon, and unlawfully pointing a firearm.

TJ Burke of Fredericton is representing Bulger, while Boudreau is represented by Brian Munro from Saint John

While the matters are separate, both defence lawyers are able to question witnesses while they are on the stand, to save time.

Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman agreed to the arrangement.

The preliminary hearing runs until Friday, and will break until September 9-6, before concluding October 4-7.