Nfld. & Labrador

Don Dunphy's tweets a 'red herring,' events at home what matter: lawyer Erin Breen

The lawyer for the family of Don Dunphy, who was shot and killed by a member of Premier Paul Davis's security detail Sunday afternoon, says there are two separate issues in the case and tweets sent by Dunphy are a "red herring."

Retired Supreme Court Justice David Riche to serve as 'independent observer' in RCMP investigation

Don Dunphy family lawyer

8 years ago
Duration 4:04
Erin Breen updates reporters about how the Dunphy family is feeling following the death of Don Dunphy.

The lawyer for Don Dunphy's family says the tweets perceived as a threat against Premier Paul Davis and the fatal shooting Sunday afternoon are two separate issues, and the family wants to focus on what happened in the house before Dunphy was killed.

St. John's lawyer Erin Breen has been hired by Dunphy's family, after Dunphy was fatally shot at his home in Mitchells Brook, N.L. by a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) officer who is also part of the premier's personal security detail.

According to Breen, Dunphy's family is devastated, but they're looking for answers and want a thorough investigation by the RCMP into his death.
Don Dunphy, seen during a 2011 interview with CBC News, was fatally shot on Sunday by a member of Premier Paul Davis's security detail who was at Dunphy's home investigating a perceived threat on Twitter. (CBC)

"We've got two separate issues. We have the issue that led up to why the police came to his home, but then we have the issue of what happened in the home," she said.

"What happened beforehand is somewhat of a red herring right now, but what happened in the home, that's what they want answers to."

The RNC officer was responding to a specific tweet made from Dunphy's account, which has since been deactivated, flagged by a members of the premier's staff as a possible threat against Davis and MHA Sandy Collins.

RCMP said Wednesday retired Supreme Court Justice David Riche has been brought in to serve as an "independent observer" of the police investigation into Dunphy's death.

In a statement, police said Riche will have "unfettered access to all aspects of the investigation," and will provide an independent report on the thoroughness of the RCMP investigation.

Riche attended Dalhousie University where he received his law degree in 1959, and was called to the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland bar in 1960.

'Frenzy' over case

On Wednesday, family members issued a statement through their lawyer asking for privacy during their time of mourning.

The family said they "anxiously await" the results of the ongoing RCMP investigation into Dunphy's "tragic and untimely" death.

Breen said there's a lot of unknown elements right now and the family wants to see how the RCMP investigation goes before considering any legal action.

"There's quite a frenzy built up on this case. We are taking a wait and see approach," said Breen.

"We want a thorough investigation, we want an investigation with integrity, and once we see the results of that then we will be in a position for other comment."

The full text of the statement from the Dunphy family:

Our hearts are broken as a result of the tragic and untimely death of our father and brother. While we understand the public interest in this matter, we respectfully request that members of the media grant us privacy during our time of sorrow. We anxiously await the results of the ongoing investigation and we will not be making any further public comment at this time.

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