N.B. coroner to hold inquiry into fatal police shooting that stemmed from erroneous Crime Stoppers tip
FREDERICTON, N.B. -- New Brunswick's chief coroner says an inquest into the fatal police shooting of a Bathurst man six years ago will begin in late April.
Local businessman Michel Vienneau was shot by Bathurst police officers on Jan. 12, 2015.
At the time, police were acting on an erroneous Crime Stoppers tip suggesting the 51-year-old man and his wife were smuggling drugs into New Brunswick after concluding a trip to Montreal.
As police confronted the couple at the Bathurst train station, one officer was pinned between the couple's vehicle and a snowbank.
Vienneau -- who wasn't involved in any criminal activity -- was shot in the heart and lungs.
Chief coroner Jerome Ouellette issued a statement today saying the inquest has been scheduled for April 27 to May 7 at an events centre in Beresford, which is north of Bathurst.
In December 2019, a New Brunswick arbitrator determined that constables Mathieu Boudreau and Patrick Bulger had not violated code of conduct rules.
Arbitrator Joel Michaud rejected evidence suggesting Vienneau's car had stopped moving by the time officers shot at it, noting the witness who said that had poor eyesight.
Both Boudreau and Bulger were in plain clothes when they approached Vienneau's car. However, Michaud found that Bulger had properly identified himself when he got out of his police vehicle, and that Boudreau showed himself "both in the way he was dressed and in the way he acted" to be a police officer before the shooting started.
Boudreau and Bulger were initially charged with manslaughter, assault with a weapon and unlawfully pointing a firearm, but Judge Anne Dugas-Horsman ruled in February 2017 that the prosecution had failed to produce enough evidence to warrant a trial.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.