Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Daughter of Man Shot Dead by Newfoundland Police Sues Officer, Force, Province

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Daughter of Man Shot Dead by Newfoundland Police Sues Officer, Force, Province

Article excerpt

Woman files lawsuit in N.L. police shooting


ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The daughter of a man shot and killed on Easter Sunday two years ago in his rural Newfoundland home is now suing the police officer who opened fire.

"The death of Donald Dunphy was caused by the wrongful act or neglect of Joseph Smyth," says the unproven statement of claim filed by Meghan Dunphy.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Newfoundland and Labrador government for its role overseeing the force.

Const. Joe Smyth was a member of then-premier Paul Davis's security team on April 5, 2015, when he went to Dunphy's home in Mitchell's Brook, N.L.

It was Easter Sunday but Smyth was working a regular shift and made the drive about 80 kilometres southwest of St. John's to check out a social media post the premier's staff had flagged "of concern."

Smyth told a recent commission of inquiry into the death that the unannounced solo visit in RCMP jurisdiction was an effort to "build rapport."

Smyth was never charged after he told RCMP investigators he shot Dunphy, 58, in the left chest and twice in the head when he suddenly aimed a rifle at him.

Smyth's lawyer, Jerome Kennedy, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary referred questions to the provincial Department of Justice and Public Safety. Department spokeswoman Amy Stoodley said she could not comment on a specific case because that "could be seen as trying to influence its outcome."

The Dunphy inquiry, led by provincial Court of Appeal judge Leo Barry, heard from more than 50 witnesses over two months starting in January.

Barry is to report and make any recommendations before July 1 on how to prevent such deadly conflicts in future. He will not make findings of criminal or civil responsibility but any new evidence could be investigated by police.

Smyth testified at the inquiry over three days in January. He was recalled last month when text messages discovered after his initial appearance seemed to contradict his sworn testimony. …

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