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CBRP Officer Acted Reasonably in Coxheath Pursuit
The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) today released its report regarding an investigation into a June 11, 2016 motor vehicle crash in Coxheath, Cape Breton, which followed a pursuit by Cape Breton Regional Police (CBRP).
At around 9:30 p.m. police received 911 calls in relation to a vehicle being driven erratically in the parking lot of the Cape Breton County Recreation Centre. At one point the driver had stopped and tried to pick a fight with a group of youths. The driver appeared to be impaired by alcohol. Police initially were unable to locate the vehicle, but did so about 15 minutes later when it returned to the parking lot. When the CBRP officer attempted to stop the car, it sped off southerly on the Coxheath road. The officer pursued for a total of 45 seconds and made the decision to discontinue the pursuit just prior to the crash.
In this case, it was reasonable for the officer to attempt to stop the car as it was being driven dangerously. However, once the pursuit began speeds eventually became very high, and it was appropriate to discontinue the pursuit. The time of the pursuit was short, and it was reasonable to expect the officer would take some time to determine both whether the car would stop and to make the decision to end the pursuit. The cause of the crash was the failure of the driver to stop as required by law and drive at an excessive speed.
In these circumstances, there are no grounds to consider any charges against the police officer.
A complete copy of the report is available at http://sirt.novascotia.ca.
SIRT is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia. Investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald, who is solely responsible for decisions respecting the laying of any charge.
Ron MacDonald, QC