IIO sends investigation of Castlegar police-involved shooting to Crown
Ed Note: IIO spokesman Martin Youssef underlined these facts in an interview regarding this release: A) The threshold for referral to Crown is very low; B) No charge has been recommended and C) “If there is even a potential likelihood there was any kind of offense, even a traffic offense, we have to refer it to Crown. That’s not to say that’s the issue here, but the IIO has an obligation to send to Crown any time an offense may have been committed under any enactment.”
When challenged about taking almost two years to complete the investigation, but then releasing this four days before Christmas, the response was as follows:
““There is a human toll, to all of our investigations. There are no winners. Not the family, not the members, not the community. No one wins, it’s always a loss, all the way around,” said Youssef. “We want to enhance our timeliness, and we’re not going to sit on a case for a week because of a holiday.”
The Independent Investigation Office of B.C. has filed a report to Crown Counsel in relation to a fatal officer involved shooting in Castlegar.
On January 29, 2015, RCMP officers were responding to a driving complaint on Hwy 3 in the city limits of Castlegar. During an attempted traffic stop, a male was subsequently shot by a police officer. The affected person was transported to hospital but did not survive his injuries.
The Chief Civilian Director of the IIO has completed his review of the investigative file and, pursuant to Section 38.11 of The Police Act, has forwarded a report to Crown for consideration of charges. This is required when the Chief Civilian Director considers that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment.
The threshold for referral to Crown is lower for the IIO than for other law enforcement agencies in the province.
The IIO does not make a recommendation on whether charges should be approved. Under the Crown Counsel Act, the Criminal Justice Branch has jurisdiction over the charge assessment and charge approval process.
In approving charges, the Criminal Justice Branch must be satisfied not only that an offence may have been committed, but that the commission of an offence can be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal Justice Branch policy provides that in making this assessment Crown counsel will apply a two-part test:
- There must be a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the investigating agency.
- A prosecution must be required in the public interest.
Under these circumstances, no public report will be issued by the IIO and no further information will be provided.