PPSC Declines to Approve Charges Against RCMP Constable
Vancouver – June 15, 2016 – The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) today announced that it declined to approve charges against a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in relation to his role in an arrest in Whitehorse, Yukon, on April 5, 2015.
The incident was investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), which subsequently submitted a Report to Crown Counsel to the PPSC. When investigating a complaint against a police officer in the Yukon, ASIRT does not recommend whether charges should be laid.
Counsel from the PPSC’s British Columbia Regional Office was assigned conduct of the charge assessment to avoid any actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest.
The decision not to approve charges was made applying the standard in the PPSC’s policy on Decision to Prosecute, Chapter 2.3 of the PPSC Deskbook, a public document. Under this policy, when deciding whether to initiate a prosecution, the PPSC must first determine if there is a reasonable prospect of conviction. If there is, the PPSC must then determine if a prosecution would best serve the public interest.
After a thorough review of the investigation, including witness statements and video, the PPSC determined that there was not a reasonable prospect of conviction based on the available evidence. The PPSC would not be able to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer used excessive force or otherwise committed a criminal offence.
In arriving at this decision, the PPSC took into account sections 25 and 26 of the Criminal Code, which provide a defence to peace officers for the use of force in the course of their duties so long as it is necessary, proportionate and reasonable. These provisions were considered in the light of the circumstances of the arrest, the officer’s training, and the opinion of an independent expert from the Calgary Police Service on police use of force techniques.
The PPSC is responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest. The PPSC is also responsible for providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across Canada.
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