The first witness will be called Tuesday to testify at the RCMP’s trial on charges it violated the Canada Labour Code.
The national police force was charged with four health and safety violations after an investigation into the shootings of five RCMP officers on June 4, 2014 in Moncton that left three dead and two wounded.
The trial began Monday in Moncton provincial court with the court hearing opening statements from prosecutor Paul Adams and defence lawyer Mark Ertel.
While Adams said it was the Crown’s position if the RCMP had complied with labour code requirements, at least some of the deaths and injuries could have been avoided. Ertel argued the RCMP did not cause the deaths.
Officers were outgunned
Adams told the court the officers were outgunned, bringing pistols and shotguns to a lopsided gun fight against more accurate and more powerful weapons used by Justin Bourque during his shooting rampage.
None of the officers who responded were wearing hard body armour and only had pistols to defend themselves. All were shot within 20 minutes as they responded to reports of a heavily armed man walking around the north end of Moncton.
Bourque was captured and convicted of the killings — he’s serving the longest sentence in the country’s history— after a 28-hour manhunt that put the north end under lockdown.
Charges after investigation
Employment and Social Development Canada investigated, which happens any time a federal government employee dies on the job.
The investigation concluded in May 2015 with charges against the national police force, which was accused of four health and safety violations under the Canada Labour Code.
No individual RCMP manager or supervisor is named in the charges, which are:
- Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate use of force equipment and related user training when responding to an active threat or active shooter event.
- Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure their health and safety when responding to an active threat or active shooter event in an open environment.
- Failing to provide RCMP supervisory personnel with appropriate information, instruction and/or training to ensure the health and safety of RCMP members when responding to an active threat or active shooter event in an open environment.
- Failing to ensure the health and safety at work of every person employed by it, namely: RCMP members, was protected.
Each charge carries a maximum fine of $1 million.
Just over two months have been set aside for the trial.
The RCMP pleaded not guilty to all charges and elected to be tried by judge only.
There have been a series of closed-door discussions between the national police force and the Crown since the charges were laid, but a…