RCMP to face trial in April on labour charges stemming from Moncton shootings

MONCTON, N.B. — More than two months have been set aside for the trial of the RCMP on Labour Code charges stemming from the force's response to a 2014 shooting rampage in New Brunswick that left three officers dead.

Defence lawyers declined comment Friday as they left a pre-trial conference in Moncton.

When the force entered pleas of not-guilty in May 2016, lawyer Mark Ertel said the pre-trial conference would be necessary to try to condense the hearings.

Friday's meeting lasted only about 30 minutes, with defence lawyer Norman Boxall only saying that the trial will begin April 18 and is scheduled to go until the end of June.

Employment and Social Development Canada alleges there were four violations of the Labour Code in the June 4, 2014 incident that resulted in the deaths of three Mounties.

The charges allege the RCMP failed to provide members and supervisors with the appropriate information, instruction and training in an active shooter event, and also didn't give members the appropriate equipment.

Justin Bourque shot and killed constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross, while constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were wounded.

Wives of two of the fallen officers left a courtroom disappointed last May, after the RCMP pleaded not guilty to the Labour Code violations.

"At this point we're just hoping for a quick resolution,'' Angela Gevaudan, wife of Fabrice Gevaudan, said at the time.

Bourque was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 75 years after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

A review said officers responding to the shootings faced a litany of problems that included communicating accurate information, accessing high-powered weaponry and securing protective equipment.

Bourque used a semi-automatic rifle to shoot the five officers in a neighbourhood in the city's northwest, and set off a 30-hour manhunt that drew in officers from around the region.

A bronze monument featuring life-size statues of constables Larche, Gevaudan and Ross was unveiled on the city's riverfront in June, on the second anniversary of the shootings.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press

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