Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Mountie with PTSD Sues Ottawa after Multiple Northern Postings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Mountie with PTSD Sues Ottawa after Multiple Northern Postings

Article excerpt

Former Mountie with PTSD sues Ottawa


HALIFAX - A former Mountie suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after multiple postings in isolated, high risk communities has filed a lawsuit against the federal government.

In a statement of claim filed in Federal Court in Halifax, a lawyer for John Christopher Bewsher said he was exposed to "psychologically traumatic events" in Labrador and Nunavut and received no psychological evaluation, support or counselling.

The claim said Bewsher was stationed in remote northern communities despite a psychological test early in his career that concluded an isolated post presented a risk to him, and further testing that showed he exhibited signs of "mild to moderate psychological dysfunction."

Bewsher, who was medically discharged in February and now lives in the Halifax suburb of Bedford, is suing Ottawa as well as a doctor and a psychologist who worked for the RCMP.

The claim alleges that the failure to disclose the results of the psychological testing was a breach of the national police force's fiduciary duty to the former sergeant, violating his charter rights.

"Without full knowledge of his own medical condition, Mr. Bewsher and his family were deprived of the opportunity to make informed decisions about his career with the RCMP," the claim filed in April said, adding that "he lacked the necessary knowledge to take appropriate steps to protect himself from the effects of psychologically traumatic events as they occurred."

In a statement of defence, however, the federal government said the lawsuit should be dismissed.

The Crown noted that there was no evidence that Bewsher was experiencing psychological problems, and he repeatedly reported enjoying his work in the north.

"There was no indication that (Bewsher) was suffering from any psychological condition, or any other condition, that made him unfit or unsuitable for his desired posting," the statement of defence filed earlier this month said.

Periodic health assessments, which include a self-reported questionnaire and a physician assessment, did not reveal any psychological problems or other concerns, the defence said. …

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