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Red Deer RCMP Warn Public of High Risk Offender

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News Release from Red Deer RCMP

In the interest of public safety, are issuing the following information and warning in regard to the release of Kasmier Francis Payou on Nov. 16, 2021, upon completion of his sentence, having served four years and six months for sexual assault. He will be residing in Red Deer. 

Payou, 65, is described as:

·         Indigenous male,

·         183cm (6’ 0”),

·         100kg (221lbs),

·         brown hair and brown eyes.

Payou has been convicted of multiple offences including: sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm, assault, uttering threats, and sexual interference.

The RCMP is issuing this information and warning after careful deliberation and consideration of all related issues, including privacy concerns, in the belief that it is clearly in the public interest to inform the members of the community of the release of Payou. The RCMP believes that there is a risk of significant harm to the health and safety of the public.

Members of the public are advised that the intent of the process is to enable members of the public to take suitable precautionary measures and not to embark on any form of vigilante action. Anyone believing that a crime has been or is about to be committed is encouraged to call police. If the matter is felt to be of an urgent nature, please call 911 to report the location and circumstances.

This media release along with a photo of Kasmier Francis Payou is available on the High Risk Offender Website: https://www.alberta.ca/high-risk-offenders.aspx

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Victims’ families boycotting N.S. mass shooting inquiry over questioning of Mounties

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TRURO, N.S. — The relatives of victims of the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shooting have told their lawyers to boycott the public inquiry investigating the tragedy, after its commissioners decided to prevent cross-examination of key Mountie witnesses.
The law firm representing 14 of 22 families issued a statement saying it was instructed not to attend the hearings on Wednesday and the next three hearings on the schedule. Patterson Law said the families are “disheartened and further traumatized” by the commission’s decision Monday to prevent the law firm’s lawyers from directly questioning Staff Sgt. Brian Rehill and Sgt. Andy O’Brien.

Rehill was the RCMP’s risk manager at its Operational Communications Centre in Truro, N.S., when the rampage that claimed 22 lives over two days began in nearby in Portapique, N.S., on April 18, 2020. When the centre received reports of an active shooter, Rehill assumed command while O’Brien assisted in overseeing the early response.

The federal-provincial commission of inquiry agreed Monday to provide special accommodations for three senior Mounties when they testify about command decisions they made as the tragedy unfolded.

Rehill and O’Brien will face questions from commission lawyers via Zoom calls that will be recorded and broadcast at a later date. Participants and lawyers who wish to observe their testimony must remain off screen with their microphones muted while each Mountie is speaking.

No reasons were given for the special arrangements. The commission has said this information is considered private because it deals with physical or psychological health needs.

Participating lawyers were told to submit questions for Rehill and O’Brien to commission lawyers in advance of the officers’ testimony, which is expected to take place on Monday and Tuesday, beginning with Rehill.

Sandra McCulloch and Rob Pineo, the lawyers for the majority of the families, left their seats at the inquiry unoccupied on Wednesday and held a news conference outside the public library in Truro. Pineo said it’s now unclear whether the family’s representatives will return to the process, adding that he will keep consulting with them.

“This was supposed to be the process that would get the families information and get their questions answered and that is simply not happening,” he said, recalling that they had to hold a public march in Truro and Halifax to pressure the federal and provincial governments to launch a public inquiry instead of the limited review that was originally planned.

Nick Beaton, whose pregnant wife, Kristen Beaton, was killed, said he’s now referring to the mass casualty commission as “a review,” adding that he believes the public inquiry has evolved into a “love triangle” between the commission, the RCMP and the government.

Lawyer Tara Miller said her clients have given her instructions not to attend this week and next week.

“In addition to being fundamentally offside, what this decision does is further erode the confidence of family members who are the most affected,” she said in an interview Wednesday.

“These are individuals who put children to bed alone at night. These are the individuals who celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Days with memories.”

Miller said it has been her clients’ position all along that participating lawyers should be allowed to engage in unfettered but appropriate cross-examination of witnesses.

“That is a fundamental tenet of any kind of a litigation proceeding, and that includes public inquiries,” Miller said.

Miller also said cross-examination of Rehill will be central to the inquiry’s purpose.

“This was the individual who had command of the entire first response,” she said. “The decisions that he made and why he made them, those are all questions that are highly relevant.”

Lawyers for the families of victims Gina Goulet, Lillian Campbell, Aaron Tuck, Jolene Oliver and Emily Tuck said in interviews that they will continue to participate next week despite the restrictions on questioning.

Meanwhile, Staff Sgt. Al Carroll — former district commander for Colchester County — is expected to testify Thursday via a live Zoom call. He will be provided with breaks during his appearance, the commission said Tuesday. He could face direct cross-examination.

The National Police Federation and the federal Department of Justice had requested that O’Brien and Rehill be allowed to provide their information by sworn affidavit and that Carroll testify in person with questions asked only by commission counsel.

Commission chairman Michael MacDonald closed the hearing on Wednesday by describing the absence of the families’ lawyers as “unfortunate.” However, he said earlier in the day he didn’t expect that the accommodations would prevent the gathering of “necessary information” from the Mounties.

Staff Sgt. Bruce Briers took the witness stand Wednesday. He was the risk manager who oversaw the RCMP dispatch in Truro during the second day of the rampage on April 19, 2020. On cross-examination, Briers broke down in tears over not having heard, after he came on shift at 7 a.m., that the killer’s replica police car had a distinctive, black push bar on the front.

He said he now realizes that two officers had mentioned the bar at different points in the morning, adding “I didn’t hear either time. I wish I had; this is one of those regrets.” The bar was also visible in a photo of the replica vehicle that was distributed among some senior officers at about 7:27 a.m.

He said he could have issued a broadcast on police radio about the push bar and it might have “made a big difference.”

“I have to live with that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.

— With files from Michael MacDonald in Halifax.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

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Mass shooting inquiry: Two senior Mounties exempted from cross-examination

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HALIFAX — Two lawyers are criticizing a decision Tuesday to allow senior RCMP witnesses to avoid cross-examination before the inquiry investigating the 2020 mass shooting in Nova Scotia.

The lawyers, Tara Miller and Josh Bryson, represent relatives of some of the victims gunned down by a killer disguised as a Mountie and driving a replica RCMP cruiser on April 18-19, 2020.

The federal-provincial commission of inquiry has agreed to provide special accommodations for three senior Mounties when they testify about command decisions they made as the tragedy unfolded.

Two of the Mounties, Staff Sgt. Brian Rehill and Sgt. Andy O’Brien, will face questions from commission counsel via Zoom calls that will be recorded and broadcast at a later date. Participants and lawyers who wish to observe their testimony must remain off screen with their microphones muted while each Mountie is speaking.

No reasons were given for the special arrangements as this information is considered private information that typically deals with physical or psychological health needs, the commission said.

Miller said she disagrees with the decision not to allow direct cross-examination.

“It will erode trust in this process and the evidence that will come out of it for these key witnesses,” said Miller, who represents a relative of Kristen Beaton, a nurse and pregnant mother who was fatally shot while sitting in her car in Debert, N.S., on April 19, 2020.

Last week, the Nova Scotia RCMP issued a statement saying the inquiry would be violating its own rules if Mounties who endured trauma were called to testify without some form of accommodation. The inquiry’s mandate calls for it to adopt a trauma-informed approach.

Bryson said he could have cross-examined Rehill and O’Brien without causing trauma. “I’m very disappointed in the ruling by the commissioners to be removing our meaningful participation in the evidence of these two key participants in this inquiry,” he said.

He said Rehill is the “most integral witness to this inquiry,” as he was the first critical incident commander to oversee officers dispatched to Portapique, N.S., where 13 people were killed on the night of April 18, 2020.

Rehill was the RCMP’s risk manager at its Operational Communications Centre in nearby Truro, N.S. When the centre received 911 calls confirming an active shooter was on the loose, Rehill immediately assumed command.

“He (Rehill) made the key decisions,” Bryson said in an interview Tuesday, adding that the senior Mountie should face questions about what he did to contain the killer on the first night.

As well, Bryson said Rehill should be asked about why there was confusion over who was in charge, given the fact that O’Brien and another Mountie — Staff Sgt. Al Carroll — were also issuing orders over the police radio that night. Though he was off duty and had consumed four alcoholic drinks, O’Brien retrieved his portable radio from the detachment — with the help of his wife — and joined in offering direction to responding officers.

According to the commission, participating lawyers such as Bryson and Miller will be asked to provide questions for Rehill and O’Brien by Thursday at 4 p.m. The commission’s lawyers will then plan their questioning, which is expected to take place on Monday and Tuesday, beginning with Rehill.

Once that round of questioning is completed, participating lawyers will be asked if they have any further questions.

Meanwhile, Carroll — former district commander for Colchester County — is expected to testify Thursday via a live Zoom call. He will be provided with breaks during his appearance, the commission said Tuesday. He could face direct cross-examination.

The National Police Federation and the federal Department of Justice had requested that O’Brien and Rehill provide their information by sworn affidavit and that Carroll testify in person with questions asked only by commission counsel.

The commission confirmed Tuesday it received a total of six requests for accommodations. One request was rejected and the commission agreed that two other witnesses could testify as part of a panel. Those witnesses were not named.

“Accommodations are intended to ensure that the commission receives the best information possible from witnesses,” the commission said in a statement. “Since witness accommodation requests involve sensitive personal health information, the commission will not share any specific individual private information about these requests.”

On April 27, the commissioner leading the inquiry, Michael MacDonald, issued a decision saying RCMP Const. Vicki Colford could provide a written affidavit instead of testifying in person.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.

Michael MacDonald and Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

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