Some Mountie deaths in 2014 Moncton massacre may have been preventable: Crown - InfoNews

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Some Mountie deaths in 2014 Moncton massacre may have been preventable: Crown

Rachael Ross, left, and Nadine Larche head from court in Moncton, N.B. on Monday, April 24, 2017. Their husbands Constables Doug Larche and Dave Ross along with Const. Fabrice Gevaudan were killed by a gunman on June 4, 2014. The RCMP's trial on violating four charges of the Canada Labour Code, related to the shooting that claimed the lives of the three officers, is expected to last two months.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
April 25, 2017 - 7:00 AM

MONCTON, N.B. - Some of the Mounties killed in a 2014 shooting rampage in Moncton might have survived had the RCMP complied with labour laws, a Crown prosecutor told a judge Monday.

Crown attorney Paul Adams said the vast majority of the officers who responded to the active-shooter call that day lacked full training and requalification in firearms.

The RCMP is on trial on Labour Code charges stemming from its response to the shootings, which killed three officers and wounded two others.

Const. Doug Larche, along with constables Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross were killed, while constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were wounded when gunman Justin Bourque used a semi-automatic rifle to target police officers in Moncton's northwest end.

The charges allege the RCMP failed to provide members and supervisors with the appropriate information, instruction and training in an active shooter event, and didn't give members the appropriate equipment.

In his opening comments, Adams said he is not alleging an RCMP failure was the direct cause of death and injury, but he said proper training and equipment may have led to a different outcome.

"Had the RCMP complied with Section 124 of the Labour Code, at least some of the fatalities would have been avoided," Adams told the court.

Section 124 of the code requires employers to use a high standard of care to ensure the health and safety of employees.

"Members responding to the June 4 incident had no training specific to responding to an active shooter in an open urban environment," Adams said.

Judge Leslie Jackson told courtroom spectators they should be aware that the Crown's opening remarks are what it plans to prove during the trial.

The small courtroom was about half full Monday, mostly supporters of two of the widows, Nadine Larche and Rachael Ross, and reporters.

RCMP lawyer Mark Ertel said Monday the force is committed to the safety of its members and the public.

He said Crown and defence lawyers have prepared an agreed statement of facts, so some witnesses won't have to testify. However, he said RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson is a possible witness.

Adams referred Monday to a January 2015 report on the tragedy by retired assistant commissioner Alphonse MacNeil, who highlighted a number of problems the Mounties' Codiac detachment faced in its search for Bourque, who remained at large for 28 hours.

The McNeil report found most of the police vehicles responding to the emergency call carried only one set of body armour, although many carried two officers, Adams said.

MacNeil issued 64 recommendations, including better access to shotguns and rifles, and training to better prepare supervisors for critical incidents. He also called for standard equipment for emergency response teams and improvements in radio communication.

Adams said Monday that as early as 2007, multiple reports recommended that carbine rifles be issued to frontline members of the RCMP.

Carbines were approved in 2011, but the Codiac detachment had none on the day of the shootings, although seven Codiac officers had begun training on them two days earlier at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in southern New Brunswick.

Adams noted a 2010 report from Carleton University criminologist Darryl Davies recommended immediate phase-in of carbine rifles for all RCMP patrol officers and training for all members.

The Crown lawyer said Davies received a letter from Paulson, the then-assistant commissioner, expressing disappointment with the report.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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