RCMP drop top officers' husbands from team liaising with N.S. mass shooting inquiry
The Mounties are replacing senior members of an internal team tasked with providing information to Nova Scotia's mass shooting inquiry because of conflict of interest concerns.
An emailed statement from the force says Chief Supt. John Robin is departing as leader of the team, as he is married to Halifax RCMP Chief Supt. Janis Gray.
Retired RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Butcher, husband of Nova Scotia assistant commissioner Lee Bergerman, is also now off the team.
The force says Chief Supt. Michael O'Malley will assume leadership of the project team in August, adding that Robin and Butcher have "asked to step away."
The inquiry into the rampage of April 18-19, 2020, includes a mandate to probe in detail what happened during the 13-hour killing spree, including the police response and communication with the public and the families of the 22 people killed by the gunman.
The RCMP say they had assigned Robin and Butcher to the team because of their qualifications and experience, but they say concerns were later raised about the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Following an internal review, the force says the two officers stepped away to ensure the Mass Casualty Commission "remains a defendable, credible and transparent process."
Butcher's wife, Bergerman, recently announced she will retire in early October, days before the Mass Casualty Commission begins public hearings.
The hearings are scheduled from Oct. 26 until Dec. 10, with an interim report due in May 2022 and a final report six months later.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021.