VANCOUVER – The BC Civil Liberties Association and the family of Paul Boyd are pleased with the BC Criminal Justice Branch’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to reconsider the laying of criminal charges in the police shooting death of Paul Boyd in August 2007. The appointment comes two years after the Criminal Justice Branch originally refused requests from the BCCLA and the Boyd Family to appoint a special prosecutor, saying that it would not be in the public interest.
“We are encouraged that the Crown is finally taking action to reconsider laying charges in the Boyd case,” said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “The evidence that Boyd was not a threat to police when he was shot and killed has been known for years. Justice requires that an independent special prosecutor take a hard look at this tragedy. This is a positive step.”
A year ago in May 2012, the BCCLA asked for this case to be reopened after a video came to light confirming that Boyd appeared to be crawling at the time he was shot by police. The BCCLA was pleased at the time that the BC government, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner quickly responded by asking Alberta’s Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to open an investigation. ASIRT has now reported back to BC Assistant Deputy Attorney General M. Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten, QC, who has appointed a special prosecutor in response.
The BCCLA’s original 2010 request to appoint a special prosecutor was rejected by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert W.G. Gillen, who concluded: “I believe we can both agree that the public interest is not served by my office expending valuable resources to confirm that assertions made by your organization [BCCLA] are not correct.” The BCCLA did not agree with Mr. Gillen’s assessment of the evidence.
Paterson added: “The long and twisting story of delay in this case demonstrate the problems of a system without independent investigations of police misconduct and criminality. We are hopeful that with the creation of the Independent Investigations Office, this kind of story won’t be repeated in the future. The appointment of a special prosecutor to review this case – which pre-dates the IIO’s mandate – is an important step and we will watch closely as the case proceeds.”
Grace Pastine – Litigation Director, 778-241-7183