N.S. shooting spree: RCMP removes top officers' husbands from public inquiry team

The RCMP has released its most detailed timeline yet of what happened in Portapique in April of 2020. The new information is part of the force’s response to a lawsuit filed by victims of the killing spree and their families. Sarah Ritchie has more.

The RCMP in Nova Scotia has replaced two members of the team assigned to provide information to the public inquiry into the April 2020 killing spree, after claims of a potential conflict of interest were raised.

Chief Supt. John Robin was assigned to lead the team. He’s married to Chief Supt. Janis Gray, who leads the Halifax RCMP.

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Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Butcher, who was also hired onto the project team, is the husband of Nova Scotia Assistant Commissioner Lee Bergerman, the top cop in the province.

Legal experts and former RCMP officers questioned the appointments, given that the Mass Casualty Commission is assigned to examine what happened during the killing spree, including the RCMP’s response and its communication with the public and the families of the 22 victims.

Following media reports, the RCMP said it launched a review of the appointments to determine whether all policies and procedures were followed.

In an email to Global News, the RCMP said that review is complete, although it did not provide details of specific recommendations.

Deputy Commissioner Brian Brennan, who’s in charge of contract and Indigenous policing for the RCMP, said in a statement that Chief Supt. Michael O’Malley will assume leadership of the project team in August.

“(Chief Supt.) Robin and retired (Staff Sgt.) Butcher also asked to step away from the Project Team in order to ensure the RCMP’s support to the Mass Casualty Commission remains a defendable, credible and transparent process,” he said.

Butcher’s wife, Bergerman, recently announced to the Nova Scotia RCMP that she will retire in early October, just days before the Mass Casualty Commission begins public hearings.

Those hearings are scheduled to run from Oct. 26 until Dec. 10. The commission will release an interim report in May 2022 and a final report six months later.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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