Retired RCMP officer criticizes decision by Nova Scotia police watchdog
A retired RCMP officer who gathered information about “serious allegations” regarding another police force in 2020 has harsh words for the failure of Nova Scotia’s police watchdog to officially investigate.
It all stems from a a heavily redacted internal RCMP report prepared by Costa Dimopoulos, released in September by the Mass Casualty Commission in Nova Scotia’s April 2020 mass shooting. Dimoploulos was brought in from RCMP J Division in New Brunswick to assist Nova Scotia RCMP with managing issues arising in the aftermath of the tragedy.
That document, known as a situation report (SITREP), contained explosive allegations made against unidentified members of another police force.
According to the SITREP, “…two persons (redacted) came forward and provided information alleging serious criminal behaviour being committed by (redacted)...."
Dated July 10, 2020, the report also states, “there is significant detail provided by both witnesses of non-criminal behaviour in relation to Police Act violations..."
The SITREP indicates the claims were made to senior RCMP members during a detachment visit after the tragedy.
When the document was made public, commission lawyer Emily Hill said much of the detail in the report was redacted by the inquiry because the accusations were unrelated to the mass shooting.
Hill stated it was rather entered into evidence because “relationships between police agencies as well as the role of oversight bodies such as SIRT must be examined to understand and comment on policing in Nova Scotia.”
The RCMP referred the matter to the Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT), but the police watchdog did not proceed with a formal investigation.
Last month, John Scott, who became SIRT’s interim director after the time of the report, told CTV News his overview of the file indicated there was no evidence of criminality for the watchdog to pursue.
“There was nothing to investigate,” he said. “And it didn’t meet our mandate.”
Scott also confirmed the target of the accusations was a member of the Truro Police Force.
Michael Scott of Patterson Law, which represents many of the Nova Scotians most affected by the mass shooting, remains troubled by the lack of information.
Michael Scott has asked the commission in writing for an unredacted version of the SITREP.
“We can’t understand how it could be reasonably suggested that it wasn’t within SIRT’s mandate and worth some sort of investigation,” says Scott.
“We have several accounts of why that certain investigation didn’t go forward that are, from the outside, impossible to reconcile,” he adds.
The author of the RCMP report, who has since retired from the force, has his own harsh criticism of SIRT’s decision, revealed in an email made public by the Mass Casualty Commission.
The email, written by Dimopoulos on Oct. 28 and addressed to SIRT, describes the police watchdog’s determination there was no criminality to investigate “a bold statement to make considering the level of detail in the report…that I disclosed.”
He went on to say his internal report spoke to "…significant historical allegations of a criminal nature made by very credible witnesses.”
Dimopoulos also expressed concern “…the lack of an official credible and disclosable (SIC) review by SIRT does a disservice to the witnesses who came forward, the credibility of SIRT…and the policing profession as a whole in Nova Scotia….”
Michael Scott calls the stark assessment “unprecedented.”
“I can’t think of another instance in which there would be that sort of discord.”
St. Thomas University criminology professor Michael Boudreau agrees.
“Which is why this case is perhaps curious because it may indeed raise the issue of SIRT's credibility,” he says.
Boudreau says the lack of clear information about who made the accusations and their precise nature, leaves too much open to speculation.
“Which is never a good thing,” he says. “Because SIRT doesn't need its credibility questioned if it's going to be an effective oversight body.”
Interim SIRT director John Scott declined CTV’s request for an interview Wednesday, only saying by email that he stands by SIRT’s decision not to pursue a formal investigation. He also stated the matter would not be reopened.
When the inquiry originally released the SITREP, the Truro Police Service (TPS) told CTV it had never heard of the allegations before.
In a statement Wednesday, the TPS reiterated it was “pleased that SIRT investigated the allegations in 2020 and found no criminality on the part of the Truro Police Service or any of its officers.”
The statement continued, “The TPS is frustrated by the fact that these serious allegations have been made, but the TPS was not informed of them when they first arose in 2020 and still has very limited information about the allegations today.”
“The TPS would like to receive the details of the allegations so it can conduct its own assessment of them and determine whether any further investigative or other steps are necessary.”
It said it wrote both SIRT and the RCMP asking for those details but has not received a response.
Last month, Nova Scotia’s Attorney General, Brad Johns, told CTV he asked the Department of Justice to look into the matter. Wednesday a department spokesperson said there was no update to share “while the review is ongoing.”
This is a corrected story. A previous version said the internal RCMP report was entered into public evidence in October.
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The oldest preserved vertebrate brain has been found in a 319-million-year-old fossilized fish skull that was removed from an English coal mine over a century ago.
A B.C. man who was mistaken for the target in a police takedown and shot by an officer in 2013 has had his lawsuit alleging negligence dismissed.
Three bodies found in a vacant Detroit-area apartment building have been identified as those of three aspiring rappers who went missing nearly two weeks ago, police said Friday.
A jury on Friday decided Elon Musk didn't deceive investors with his 2018 tweets about electric automaker Tesla.
A new research from a citizen science program suggests that stars are disappearing before our eyes at an 'astonishing rate.'
Canada announced that it had called China's ambassador onto the carpet as Ottawa and Washington expressed their disapproval Friday over a high-altitude balloon found to have been hovering over sensitive sites in the United States.
A federal government department has fired 49 employees who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit while they were employed.
White-tailed deer may be a reservoir for COVID-19 variants of concern including Alpha, Delta and Gamma, according to new research out of Cornell University that raises questions about whether deer could re-introduce nearly extinct variants back into the human population.
Mexican actor Pablo Lyle was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after fatally punching a man during a road rage confrontation in Miami in 2019.
Speed cameras clocked a car driving 70 km/h over the limit. Here's how the owner fought the ticket and won
After being charged with speeding by a city-operated photo radar device, a Toronto family was able to successfully fight the charge in court largely due to one small detail.
The death of a longtime CBC journalist who was shoved to the ground in Toronto has now been classified as a homicide and police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect in the case.
Police are investigating a stabbing in downtown Toronto Friday night.
Alberta's high court is being asked to overturn a review board decision relating to the stabbing deaths of five young people at a Calgary house party on the grounds the former provincial justice minister interfered.
Thousands of Alberta lawyers are expected to take part in an online debate Monday morning over the issue of mandatory Indigenous history training.
Alberta's justice minister is celebrating Friday's scrapped amendments to the federal firearms legislation, but Tyler Shandro believes more work needs to be done on Bill C-21.
A reclusive billionaire who headed a Montreal tech company is stepping down one day after Radio-Canada/CBC published a report that alleged he paid teenage girls for sex for more than a decade.
Funeral services were held Friday for two people who died in a Saint-Roch-de-L'Achigan, Que. explosion last month. Celine Pilon and France Desrosiers, both 65 years old, were killed on Jan. 12 following an explosion at a propane facility.
Eater Montreal is shutting down its online publication that for years has been a go-to source for the happenings in the city's distinguished food and dining scene. Food critics in Montreal are now wondering what the loss will mean for local businesses that relied on the publications reviews.
An Edmonton man who received a ticket from the city under the phase 2 residential parking ban earlier this week says his street has finally been plowed — five days after his vehicle was ticketed.
A skincare line created by a team of local doctors is about to get its 15 minutes of fame.
New MRI-radiation hybrid machine in Alberta expected to improve cancer treatment by at least 20 per cent
Technology in Alberta that is expected to allow doctors to more accurately and effectively treat cancerous tumours with radiation enters clinical trials next week.
Canada's newest millionaire, an 18-year-old university freshman from northern Ontario, has achieved a lot of firsts with a recent lottery win. Here is her story.
Ontario Provincial Police have closed a portion of Highway 400 north of Toronto following multiple collisions due to whiteout conditions.
An investigation that lasted almost two years has resulted in moose hunting violation convictions for six people and a lodge in Red Lake in northwestern Ontario.
The public is being asked to avoid the area of Sixth Avenue in Woodstock, Ont. on Friday afternoon due to an “active police investigation” following a grim discovery made by police.
Extreme cold and snow squall warnings are impacting roads and school bus operations in the region, and multiple area roads and highways have been closed by OPP due to hazardous driving conditions.
After a trial in the spring, Elkan Vyizigaro, 26, and Jamie Ryckman, 27 — who were charged with several human trafficking-related offences involving a London woman — were found guilty.
A fire destroyed a popular paint and hobby shop in Winkler Thursday afternoon with black smoke prompting Winkler police to close off a stretch of Highway 32 for more than an hour.
Manitoba has expanded the types of identification acceptable for use to purchase liquor, cannabis and lottery tickets in the province.
The Winnipeg Police Service responded to two homicides in the span of two hours this week.
A federal government department has fired 49 employees who received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit while they were employed.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the cancellations and closures in the Ottawa area due to the extreme cold temperatures.
EXTREME COLD WARNING
EXTREME COLD WARNING | Deep freeze hits Ottawa, wind chill drops below -40
Extreme cold temperatures will continue to grip Ottawa and eastern Ontario Friday night and Saturday morning, with the wind chill making it feel colder than -40.
BHP is moving forward with its plans to build the world's largest potash mine.
After months of driving around the city with an advertisement for a kidney donor on her bright red car, Debbie Onishenko will soon be able to rip off the decals as her search has ended.
The community of Dundurn is rallying behind a firefighter who lost her home in a fire.
Service on Vancouver's Canada Line SkyTrain was disrupted during rush hour Friday evening because of what authorities described as a medical emergency.
Homicide investigators are looking into whether a vehicle fire in Surrey on Thursday morning is connected to the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Burnaby hours later.
The head of the civilian agency responsible for investigating when someone is seriously injured or killed in an interaction with police in B.C. says the province hasn’t provided the resources for his team to do its job effectively.
Saskatchewan is reacting to the removal of controversial amendment G4 to Bill C-21 by the federal Liberals, which banned certain semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.
Residents in Regina's North Central community are voicing safety concerns after a water main break resulted in icy sidewalk and road conditions.
A local non-profit is hoping a new office space can help reconnect Indigenous youth to their culture.
An emergency room doctor on Vancouver Island is calling on the leadership of the health authority to resign, saying harassment by Island Health officials is prompting doctors to abandon the region amid a critical shortage of health-care workers.
A local state of emergency that was issued in Campbell River, B.C., following a landslide in mid-January has been lifted, the city announced Friday.
A man accused of fatally stabbing another man outside a busy mall in Nanaimo, B.C., has been charged with second-degree murder, according to the Nanaimo RCMP.