Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Deaths, Injuries during Moncton Shooting Could Have Been Avoided: Crown

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Deaths, Injuries during Moncton Shooting Could Have Been Avoided: Crown

Article excerpt

RCMP officers were outgunned: Crown

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MONCTON, N.B. - A former RCMP commissioner was "contrived" in his testimony at the national police force's Labour Code trial stemming from the shooting rampage in Moncton, N.B., the Crown said Tuesday as he argued senior management knew for years that front-line officers were at risk.

Prosecutor Paul Adams called the testimony of recently retired commissioner Bob Paulson "virtually incomprehensible" and said he contradicted himself in categorically refusing to acknowledge that officers were not properly trained or equipped to respond to the fatal shooting on June 4, 2014, despite overwhelming evidence that says the opposite.

Paulson had testified he was involved in initial discussions about the introduction of the C8 carbine, which the RCMP approved in September 2011. He testified officers were reasonably trained and that the carbine rollout was reasonable.

"It's disappointing. It's evasive, contrived, self-serving evidence," Adams said in his closing arguments before Moncton provincial court Judge Leslie Jackson.

"There was an entrenched unwillingness on the part of senior management ... to admit anything that would have reflected badly on the RCMP's position."

The RCMP faces four Labour Code charges stemming from Justin Bourque's 2014 shooting spree that left three officers dead and two injured. It is accused of failing to provide officers and supervisors with the appropriate equipment and training in an active-shooter event.

The C8 carbine rifles -- a version of an assault rifle similar to an M16 -- were not available to general duty officers during the rampage, and numerous witnesses have testified they could have made a difference.

Adams argued at least some of the deaths and injuries in Moncton could have been avoided had the force provided Mounties with the appropriate equipment and training.

He said the officers who responded to the shooting were outgunned and at a tactical disadvantage.

Adams said a briefing note roughly seven years before the shooting had recommended the RCMP look at adopting patrol carbine rifles, and argued the force therefore knew front-line officers were at risk. A subsequent study identified a firearms capability gap that needed to be addressed.

He argued evidence presented at the trial has established "without question" that the officers were not properly equipped or trained to deal with an active shooter incident.

Earlier Tuesday, RCMP lawyers argued the national police force exercised due diligence in arming general duty officers with C8 carbine rifles.

Defence lawyer Ian Carter said bureaucracy dictates how governments work and adopting patrol carbines for the RCMP took time for a number of reasons, including finances and federal procurement regulations.

But he argued that doesn't mean the force wasn't exercising due diligence in studying, approving and rolling out the carbines. …

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