Nfld. & Labrador

Missing BlackBerry messages show shortfall in investigation: Dunphy family lawyer

During the Dunphy inquiry Thursday, Bob Simmonds challenged the retired chief superintendent of the RCMP on the way police conducted their investigation.

Bob Simmonds says Joe Smyth not asked to turn over phone for days

Bob Simmonds is representing Don Dunphy's daughter, Meghan, at the judicial inquiry. (CBC)

The lawyer acting for Don Dunphy's family challenged a retired RCMP chief superintendent Thursday on the way police conducted their investigation into the April 2015 shooting death.

In asking questions at the judicial inquiry into the shooting, Bob Simmonds pointed to what he called "shortfalls in the investigation" — including recently revealed BlackBerry messages on Const. Joe Smyth's phone.

Smyth, a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer who was working security for then-Premier, Paul Davis, has testified that he shot and killed Dunphy at his home in Mitchells Brook, after Dunphy pointed a rifle at him.

"We recently got, like in the last seven or eight days, transcripts from Constable Smyth's phone that is vitally important to the issues before this inquiry, " said Simmonds. 

RCMP Retired Chief Supt. Andrew Boland was second-in-command when the force began investigating the shooting of Don Dunphy. (CBC)

In the BBM conversation with a colleague, Smyth referred to Dunphy "as some lunatic threatening the premier," and said he may be late for a beer if he had to arrest him. The messages were later deleted.

Simmonds questioned retired Chief Supt. Andrew Boland, who was second-in-command in Newfoundland and Labrador when the RCMP began investigating Dunphy's death.

He wanted to know why Dunphy's phone, which was actually his daughter's phone, was seized the day of the shooting but Const. Smyth's phone wasn't seized until three weeks later.

"Why investigators did or did not do things is entirely up to the path of the investigation and how it flows. I have every confidence in the people and the work that they did, " said Boland. 

Simmonds first called the deleted messages "incriminating texts," later changing that to "relevant e-mails that would been of interest to this commission."

Pointing out the messages were not found until February of 2017. Simmonds asked, "Does that not at least cause you some concern that, hey, there is certainly something that should have been done that wasn't?" 

Boland went on to say the investigators were doing their work and had their own reasons for following information and particular investigative paths.