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

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on August 19, 2014

Charlottetown police seized more than $400,000 in drugs and arrested about 40 people in Operation Clean Sweep

©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

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.”