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Nova Scotia takes ‘wait and see’ approach as probe into RCMP actions remains stalled

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Justice Minister Brad Johns says he has adopted a “wait-and-see” approach on what to do about an investigation into potential RCMP wrongdoing that has been stalled for nine months.

Johns was referring to the case of the late Glen Assoun, whose wrongful murder conviction prompted the province in 2021 to ask the police oversight body in British Columbia to determine whether the Mounties broke the law when they destroyed evidence.

After two years of investigating, the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia dropped the case last April because its workload had become unmanageable.

Johns said today he is waiting to hear from the head of Nova Scotia’s police oversight body, Erin Nauss, who is trying to persuade another oversight agency to finish the job.

The minister says he has sympathy for the frustration felt by Assoun’s relatives, but it’s important for the investigation to be completed by an outside organization to ensure transparency and accountability.

However, an expert on police oversight says that to prevent the investigation from dragging on, it would make more sense for Nova Scotia’s police watchdog to take on the task, and then have an outside body review their work.

“I don’t know why they just don’t do it (because) they have the resources to do a good job,” said Erick Laming, a criminology professor at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont. “There’s ways to investigate this and be transparent with the public.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2024.

The Canadian Press


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