N.S. justice minister yet to read report into fatal RCMP shooting in Cape Breton

Erin Pottie
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SYDNEY, N.S. - Nova Scotia's justice minister says he hasn't read the report on the fatal RCMP shooting of a Cape Breton man, but from his understanding the investigation is complete.
Last month, a team headed by Halifax Regional Police described part of its investigative findings on the shooting of John Simon at the Wagmatcook reserve on Dec. 2, 2008.
Simon's family and the Wagmatcook First Nation band were given only a verbal briefing on the report Dec. 14.
"I was in Winnipeg and Manitoba there, and then I went on vacation at the Christmas season," Justice Minister Ross Landry, a former RCMP officer, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
"I haven't looked at it, but it's important to me."
Simon, a 44-year-old fisherman, died in hospital about three hours after being shot by an RCMP officer at his home on the reserve.
At the time, Simon was drunk and suicidal and hadn't taken his diabetic insulin for days.
His family and the band have said an RCMP officer, one of three responding to a 911 call, climbed in a window of the house while Simon was on the toilet.
Police told the family and band that Simon had moved to another room where he pulled out a rifle before the Mountie shot him three times.
The police incident team found the officer had acted in self-defence.
"There's an investigation and they made a decision on that," Landry said. "The officer made a decision and I'm not really here to second-guess or question that.... From where I'm sitting in justice, if it's been investigated it's been investigated."
Brian Arbuthnot, Wagmatcook director of operations, has said the chief and council will ask that Landry call for a public inquiry into Simon's death.
Asked when he will review the Simon report, Landry said he had planned to retrieve the document from his office early Tuesday but was prevented by a fire in south-end Halifax.
He said he would get the report Tuesday night or Wednesday.
Landry is scheduled to meet with the Wagmatcook band in Halifax to discuss its concerns.
He said his deep sympathy goes to Simon's family, his common-law partner and the community. At the same time, he said he has understanding and compassion for the police officer who has to live with the outcome.
Citing privacy concerns, the RCMP has said it would not issue a full copy of the report to the Wagmatcook band, Simon's family or the media.
Wagmatcook is attempting to gain access to the report through freedom of information legislation.

Organizations: RCMP, Simon's, Wagmatcook First Nation

Geographic location: Cape Breton, SYDNEY, Nova Scotia Winnipeg Manitoba Halifax

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Recent comments

  • colin
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    From what I have read the shooting was justified and because the Band members don't want to accept any govermental decisions that go against their own, they want to remove the RCMP and replace them with the Cape Breton Police , this will only last until they do something that isn't right in the eyes of the Band members. br Its about time the Provincial and Federal governments stop allowing the tail to wag the dog. That is the Aboriginals telling the governments what to do. The government has to STOP putting money into these reserves and allowing the money to be spent foolishly, an example that a Chief of one reserve out West drew a salary of $295,000.00 last year and the Band consellors were close behind in salary. . An outside money manager should decide where all money is spent. Let thye work and pay taxes like all Canadians do. br The 300 year Treaty should no longer exist, any other contract expires in 1, 2 or 3 years not 300 years STOP wasting taxpayers money, the RCMP is the Federal Police Force and they should police the reserves and that is final