P.E.I. judge dumbfounded over police cost-saving measures in murder case

Jim Day
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Charlottetown Police Chief Paul Smith has come under scrutiny for refusing to have video statements in a murder case transcribed due to cost.

Justice in a murder case has been slowed by Charlottetown Police Services looking to save money.

Provincial court judge Nancy Orr appeared gobsmacked when told in court Tuesday morning that Chief Paul Smith felt the cost of transcribing about 30 video statements was simply too pricey for his department.

“The allegation is murder,’’ a clearly astounded Orr stated. “You can’t get anything more serious than that.’’

Crown attorney Valerie Moore told the judge she had pushed hard to convey to Smith the importance of having transcripts of the video statements made.

Orr agreed transcripts were essential to proceed with a trial, if the case ends up going that route.

The accused’s defence lawyer, Thane MacEachern, said he did not have enough time to review the numerous video statements and noted he would also benefit from having transcripts.

Orr adjourned the case to Thursday morning, voicing hope that the appropriate people will make the appropriate decisions concerning the need to transcribe the video statements.

Dressed in a white blouse and a pink skirt, the 17-year-old girl accused of murder sat quietly in the courtroom, her legs shackled and her hands cuffed. The teen, who cannot be identified, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a Charlottetown man in the capital city July 11.

Police have identified the victim as 45-year-old Kent David Gallant. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be from a stab wound to the chest.

Later in the day, the police chief issued a statement.

“Charlottetown Police Services has provided the office of the Crown attorney with everything it has from its investigation in a timely manner, including video statements from witnesses, the accused and others affected by the incident in relation to the death of a Charlottetown man on July 11,” Smith said.

“Charlottetown Police Services has always worked with the Crown to transcribe statements deemed necessary after review and assures all parties involved that it will continue do so in cooperation with the Crown,” he said.

“Charlottetown Police Services has asked the Crown attorney’s office to review the video statements in this case to determine which statements are priorities for transcription, given the time sensitivities and serious nature of the case.”


Organizations: Charlottetown Police Services

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • concerned
    August 20, 2014 - 11:21

    I think that this is pathetic-Mr Gallant is dead and this young girl/woman is alleged to be responsible. That being said and those are the facts as we know, where does the Chief of Police get his gall, of course all materials/information needs to be sent to the crown and defence so that that they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities based on the materials/info that pertains to this case. The chief of Police does NOT get to pick and choose what is made available or not available to the courts. Does he also get to put a $$$ amount on someones life- I think not. IF he does not COMPLY with Judge Orrs wishes I for one would applaud her for holding him in contempt (which in my opinion he already is)

  • Police Governance in the City
    August 20, 2014 - 08:40

    This is something the Police Commision should be addressing....on that topic how come there is no Civilian input/oversight on that commission..it is made up of senior police management and 2 city counselors ???Most if not all Canadian municipalities have Civilians with certain qualifications ie :lawyers , former police officials , or other professionals who are invited to join and oversee or offer input to police issues from HR to finances..operational guidance is limited....Charlottetown is stuck in an old mindset that in camera sessions and politics are the norm, that we do it our way?? and civilians have no need to know.....well folks THEY do need to know.... there are many issues here that must be addressed...one is who is running this force ? the city or the chief?...are the purse strings to tight? Is it FLUFF policing..up front new shiney cars,a new office, new uniforms, etc ..but the culture in the core has not changed?..this can cause issues like this .Maybe this will be addressed in the up coming election...maybe it can be addressed by the present mayor who no doubt will still be sitting in the same chair come election night.WE are a Provincial capital,we are a small but signifigant city within Canada...the quality of life here and on the island is relativly good..... BUT it is 2014....the world is smaller and policing needs have changed, are they changing in a positive way for our Police Force.....and their partner 1st responders??What resources do they need?Should there be more joint force operations with the RCMP who have National tech and HR resources and at their disposal..and police all around us ......That oversight now needs to be looked at.........on an ongoing bases.

  • Outraged!!!
    August 19, 2014 - 23:46

    I am in disbelief how this case is being handle by the Chief of Police! This is a murder case and should place top priority regardless of funding. I, along with most taxpayers, were appalled when reading this article. It is a disgrace & shameful to think a human being's life was taken and to even suggest ways of keeping costs down regarding the investigation. Shame on the Charlottetown Police especially the Chief!!!

  • Police are passing the Buck!
    August 19, 2014 - 22:21

    Maybe someone should tell them that they are investigating a MURDER,she maybe aYoung Offender but come on ...do it professionally like the RCMP.They are trying to save money??They don't have a problem finding city cops to go to court on their days off and stand around the court on overtime..when they no damn well ..their evidence is not needed ..and that it is a routine activity for years.......just a waste of money.They want to say they are capable of doing serious crime investigations but from the looks of this they are still stuck in the 1960's.We deserve better from this force,we pay enough for them.... the major crime manager or whoever is in charge should know better.The Chief is trying go blame the Crown's office...the file should be complete when it goes to that office....they should not be expecting the Crown to cherry pick what they need and then ask for them to transcribe it....who is doing the investigation???

  • Oops, Wrong Judge
    August 19, 2014 - 20:09

    The police probably figured it would go before Judge Douglas and the accused would just be given probation and community service anyway. I am surprised they even bothered arresting her.

  • townie2
    August 19, 2014 - 17:58

    i would think, with a 17 year old client accused of murder, the defense lawyer would MAKE the time to view the tapes, it would probably also be faster than reading all the transcripts, but, hey, maybe he's up to his ears in a hot shoplifting case.

  • Shared Services
    August 19, 2014 - 17:16

    If the City Police cannot get the basics done, then call in the RCMP. The two enforcement agencies should be using both their resources on this case. Personally, the girl is 17 and should be tried as an adult. My child knew at 2 years that if you hurt someone, you were going to be punished.

    • Regis
      August 20, 2014 - 03:51

      What is the point of having an age of adulthood if you break it any time it's convenient?

  • unbelievable
    August 19, 2014 - 17:07

    I would think all the statements would be relevant...

  • unbelievable
    August 19, 2014 - 17:00

    All of the witness statements would be important and relavent to the case..

  • unbelievable
    August 19, 2014 - 16:46

    She is charged with first degree murder so there must be evidence to support that...why is it all about her , remember he had a family and a life and will not be able to plead his case...there is always two sides to any story . He obviously cant state his case but that doesnt make her the victim..

    • Shawn King
      August 19, 2014 - 18:25

      The criminal court system is not about the victim. It's about the accused. If the victim wants something, the estate should sue the accused.

  • don
    August 19, 2014 - 15:24

    maybe the reporter can tell us is she on trial as a adult or child? adult and not let out for a min of 50 years.

      August 19, 2014 - 16:15

      Yes, Don lets save even more money and dispense with the trial. We'll just put her in jail for 50 years. Who cares about mitigating factors like self defence, mental illness, or anything else that is in the background. She's charged so she must be guilty, right? You are tiring, Don.

    • Ryan Gallant
      August 19, 2014 - 16:24

      The maximum allowable sentence in Canada is life with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

  • Kevin
    August 19, 2014 - 14:07

    Don, "gobsmacked" is not a big word. It's not terribly hard to pronounce either. Try it. Someone like you, you might actually have a little fun.

  • Eric
    August 19, 2014 - 13:08

    It seems like the "best evidence" has been submitted by the Police Service to the Crown. The defence attorney does not have the time to review the tapes ? The cost of policing is a concern across the nation. Who can better afford to transcribe tapes, the province or the municipality?

    • Shawn King
      August 19, 2014 - 18:28

      Transcripts are used by defence, the Crown and the judge to keep track of everything. After you've heard 40 hours of video or testimony transcripts make it easier to go back and use. Also, when the transcripts are being submitted as evidence, the Crown prefers a police transcript to verify the accuracy of the transcript. Defence may cheap out or try to insert evidence in a transcript that would help the accused rather than keep the transcript accurate.

  • don
    August 19, 2014 - 12:10

    is she being charged as a teen or adult as the story does not say? he is saving the money for there party at xmas lol. and the reporter says "judge Nancy Orr appeared gobsmacked". LOL trying to use big words to make it look like you are smarter then everyone.

    • therod
      August 19, 2014 - 12:40

      If you think that "gobsmacked" is an attempted for the reporter to appear smarter than "everyone" I think your vocabulary is in serious need of an expansion.

    • Big Words
      August 19, 2014 - 12:58

      You can use all the big words you want don, no one is ever going to think you are smarter than anyone. Yet another comment from you with zero merit.

  • Donald
    August 19, 2014 - 11:48

    I cant believe this, put cops in schools and parades but ya cant foot the bill for murder...terrible, should be ashamed.

    • Justa Guy
      August 19, 2014 - 13:48

      Have you considered that the police feel there is enough evidence that they don't feel the need to have the videos transcribed? Also the crown can pay for the work to get done if they feel it is necessary. Same with the defense.

    • A MOM
      August 19, 2014 - 23:27

      I believe this should be tried as any other murder would be...that said...IT is NOT a WASTE of money to have COPS in our SCHOOLs ~~ well there is only one school with any regular presences! Believe me they should be 1 in every HIGH School and Random Days at Junior High Level. The DRUG PROBLEMS in our Island Schools is so out of control it is scary! An ounce of prevention....may go a very long way!

    • Experienced observer
      August 20, 2014 - 08:03

      Just A GUY.. it is NEVER up to the Police to say this is enough evidence ,you must lay all your cards on the table ..by case law....BY the time the CROWN gets it they sit down and goes thru it..if it is in need of fine tuning the POLICE do it!! they are the investigators..that's their job...not the CROWN....The defense is entitled to all the evidence by case law.....IF you are going to have a POLICE Force involved in Major investigations they have to step up to the plate and do it properly and by the book....not have the CHIEF go before the press and try to justify why an improper file was presented and try to turn the blame on another agency..when it is NOT their job....trying to save a few dollars! The accused deserves that... the criminal justice system deserves that.IN fact this is EMBARASSING to anyone who has experience in this line of work.....This is a good example where they should have a provincial homocide team with the RCMP...like in Halifax.Everyone brings expertise and resources to the table, and the case manager makes sure the finished product is that ...a proper file for the crown,and it WORKS. What does this tell me ...we have a mickey mouse ,money saving mentality.....and we know that has cost the CPS in the past with the police reviews over the last 35 years,have things changed??Maybe cosmeticly, they have arranged the chairs on the Titanic but not deep down in it's core ... What would they do if they had several serious files on the go???WE may have a small city and a small province but a murder file here is as serious as in Halifax or any large center.