IIO forwards report to Crown over Alberni RCMP incident

The Independent Investigations Office has forwarded a report to Crown counsel over an officer-involved incident from last February.

The Independent Investigations Office has forwarded a report to Crown counsel over an officer-involved incident that took place in Port Alberni last February.

This means that Chief Civilian Director Richard Rosenthal of the IIO considers that an officer may have committed an offence.

On Feb. 15, 2013, RCMP officers responded to a complaint involving an adult female, Cecelia Bigstone, 59. The female was located walking at the corner of Maitland Street and Eight Avenue. During the officers’ contact with Bigstone, the RCMP members determined that she was the subject of a court order and believed her to be non-compliant with it. Based on that, the officers arrested her.

During the arrest, Bigstone sustained a leg injury, later determined by doctors at West Coast General Hospital to be a broken kneecap.

Bigstone was transported to police cells where she was assessed by BC Ambulance Services. She was subsequently transported to hospital where she was admitted for treatment.

The IIO became involved on Feb. 22.

Rosenthal has completed his review of the investigative file and has forwarded a report to Crown counsel, pursuant to Section 38.11 of the Police Act.

The chief civilian director does not make a recommendation on whether charges should be approved or what charges Crown counsel should consider. Under the Crown Counsel Act, the Criminal Justice Branch has jurisdiction over the charge assessment and charge approval process.

In approving charges, the Criminal Justice Branch must be satisfied not only that an offence may have been committed, but that the commission of an offence can be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.

The IIO will not be issuing a public report on this matter, and has indicated no further information will be provided.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

With files from Wawmeesh G. Hamilton, Alberni Valley News