The trial of Jason Tait was not held at the Nelson courthouse because of COVID-19 restrictions but at Nelson’s Capitol Theatre. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

The trial of Jason Tait was not held at the Nelson courthouse because of COVID-19 restrictions but at Nelson’s Capitol Theatre. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Jason Tait trial: Investigating agency defends decision to prosecute

Independent Investigations Office and Crown say there was enough evidence to go to trial

B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has defended its investigation of the death of Waylon Edey at the hands of RCMP officer Jason Tait, who was found not guilty of manslaughter by a jury in Nelson on Nov. 6 after a six-week trial.

During the trial, Tait’s lawyer David Butcher called the IIO investigator “incompetent” and the investigation “rubbish.” He said the case did not have enough merit to be referred to the Crown for prosecution and he criticized the Crown for accepting it and conducting a trial that cost “millions of dollars.”

The IIO is a provincial civilian agency that investigates incidents in which a person is killed or injured by a police officer.

In an interview with the Nelson Star after the trial, Ronald MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the IIO, pointed out that in a preliminary inquiry in January a provincial court judge decided there was enough evidence to take the case to trial.

Preliminary inquiries are a procedure designed specifically to make sure there is enough evidence to warrant the expense and effort of a trial.

MacDonald disputed Butcher’s accusations and said, “This trial was not about the competence of the IIO investigation. It was about whether or not the officer in this case had breached the criminal law.”

He said the fact that a jury found Tait not guilty should not lead to the conclusion that the case should not have gone to trial.

The provincial Crown office also sent the Star a response to Butcher’s criticism.

Dan McLaughlin said the Crown applies a two-way test to decide whether to approve charges: There must be a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the investigating agency, and the prosecution must be in the public interest.

“The [BC Prosecution Service] approved charges in this case after concluding that the charge assessment standard for proceeding with criminal charges was met,” McLaughlin wrote.

“The same standard is applied to all reports to Crown Counsel. While the verdict in this case is not the result the BCPS advocated for, we respect the jury system and the judicial process that supports it.”

Related:

Nelson jury finds RCMP officer Jason Tait not guilty

Defence begins presenting evidence in Nelson jury trial of RCMP officer

Trial of RCMP officer begins in Nelson’s Capitol Theatre



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo:  Black Press Media
Greater Trail RCMP urge locals to stay off the roads

By noon there were four commercial tractor trailers stuck on hills in the Trail area

Katrine Conroy’s swearing in ceremony. Photo: Kootenay West Katrine Conroy Facebook
Forestry Minister West Kootenay MLA Katrine Conroy talks about her new role

Conroy will also oversee Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Treaty

RNG plant
Construction on ground-breaking RNG plant in Fruitvale set to go in spring 2021

REN Energy partners with Calgary engineering firm for innovative West Kootenay gas plant

Terry Miller won the Rossland byelection.on Saturday.  Photo: Terry Miller
Rossland voters select Terry Miller as new councillor

City of Rossland releases results of advance voting and final voting day of council byelection

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Most Read