New Brunswick

Mountie says he deleted surveillance footage because it was 'irrelevant'

A Mountie who deleted surveillance footage says he didn't think it was valuable as evidence and would expose his personal information. A code of conduct hearing continued Wednesday for Codiac RCMP Cpl Mathieu Potvin and Const. Graham Bourque.

Const. Graham Bourque, Cpl. Mathieu Potvin face allegations they violated RCMP code of conduct

The video at the centre of the code of conduct hearing showed a drug trafficking suspect leaving a residence on Donovan Terrace in Moncton in May 2019. (Shane Magee/CBC)

A Mountie who deleted surveillance footage says he didn't think it was valuable as evidence and would expose his personal information. 

A code of conduct hearing continued Wednesday for Codiac RCMP Cpl. Mathieu Potvin and Const. Graham Bourque. They face allegations of discreditable conduct and failing to provide complete and accurate accounts of their work on May 15 and May 16, 2019.

The hearing has centred on a video Bourque recorded of Jesse Todd Logue leaving an address on Donovan Terrace in Moncton. 

"At that time, I thought it was irrelevant and I could move on without it," Bourque testified about the video. 

He said he captured a poor-quality, roughly two-second video of Logue leaving a property, and it was likely impossible to tell who the footage showed. He said he then dropped the camera in the vehicle he was driving. He tried to follow Logue, though the team lost him. 

This duplex on Dominion Street was one of the Moncton residences raided by Codiac Regional RCMP in August 2019. (Shane Magee/CBC)

The camera continued recording for about 25 minutes, showing nothing but black and capturing the sound of police radio chatter and a private conversation with his wife, Bourque said.

He testified he was concerned about that conversation being among what would be turned over to Logue if charges were laid as part of disclosure of the Crown's evidence. 

"It's not important for Mr. Logue to know that I'm talking to my wife on the phone," Bourque said. 

Bourque asked the surveillance team over their radios that day whether he could edit the 25-minute recording down to 10 seconds. Const. Eric Pichette said he couldn't. 

Potvin was responsible for taking detailed notes of the team's actions that day for a report on their work. He responded that he hadn't written down anything about a video.

'We can act as if it never happened'

"So we can act as if it never happened," Potvin says, according to the transcript.

Bourque testified he deleted the video on May 16, the day after the radio conversation, after asking someone else whether the video could be edited. 

Potvin testified he understood the camera Bourque was using malfunctioned and continued to record for longer than planned.

He denied the allegation that came from Crown prosecutors in 2020 that the officers had conspired to hide evidence. 

"That's what they're saying, but at the time, I did not understand that to be a piece of evidence. I thought I had some discretion over it," Bourque said. 

At the time, I understood that Const. Bourque had attempted to take a video and had a malfunction with it.- Cpl. Mathieu Potvin

Potvin was asked about his "act as if it never happened" comment. 

"At the time, I understood that Const. Bourque had attempted to take a video and had a malfunction with it," Potvin testified. 

"Him having a video malfunction was not a big deal, it happens. I didn't feel it was relevant to him to write down that he had a video malfunction."

Potvin said it wasn't until 10 months later that he learned Bourque had deleted the video. 

The hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday morning with submissions from lawyers, followed by a potential decision from conduct board chair Louise Morel on whether the officers violated the code of conduct. 

If Morel rules they did, the hearing could continue with discussions about potential consequences for the officers. 

Officers suspended with pay

Logue pleaded guilty in 2021 to conspiracy to traffic methamphetamine and possessing a prohibited Smith & Wesson handgun. He was sentenced to 8½ years in prison.

Potvin, Bourque, and Const. Eric Pichette were suspended with pay in December 2020. The three were criminally charged with obstruction of justice, though the charges were dropped last year. 

RCMP say Pichette has returned to regular duty, while Bourque and Potvin remain suspended pending the hearing outcome.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Magee

Reporter

Shane Magee is a Moncton-based reporter for CBC. He can be reached at shane.magee@cbc.ca.

now