Case not closed: Charges still possible in tragic python deaths
There is still no word on whether charges will be laid in the deaths of two boys killed by a python in Campbellton, N.B. last summer, but the city’s mayor says police should take as long as they need.
The lawyer for the man who owned the snake says he was told no charges would be laid in the case, but the Mounties say the incident is still under investigation.
Campbellton Mayor Bruce MacIntosh says the case is unique and he supports police taking as much time as needed to make the right decision.
“They wanted to make sure that they talked to a number of officials throughout Canada and the United States, so this is probably why it is talking a bit longer,” says MacIntosh.
Noah Barthe, 4, and his brother Connor, 6, were killed in August 2013 while they were sleeping at an apartment located above an exotic pet store in Campbellton.
The boys were asphyxiated by a 45-kilogram African rock python that escaped its enclosure in the apartment, slithered through a ventilation system above and fell through a ceiling into the living room where they slept.
The snake was being kept illegally and the RCMP launched an investigation after the incident.
Leslie Matchim, the lawyer representing python owner Jean-Claude Savoie, says he was told late last year there would be no charges laid in the case.
“I had been informed by the RCMP in December of last year that I could expect a media announcement to the effect that no criminal charges would be laid in this file,” says Matchim.
He says there have been multiple reviews of the investigation and all reached the same conclusion. He says he is also concerned that the lead investigator in the case was replaced.
“It raises a concern to me that they would employ these kinds of tactics in order to try to achieve some other conclusion,” says Matchim.
MacIntosh says it’s too early to discuss charges because the investigation isn’t complete.
“To have this other discussion with government officials, I would have hoped that they would have waited until the RCMP has concluded their investigation,” he says.
The Mounties will only say their investigation remains open and a decision on charges has not been made.
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell