RCMP Swine Clear Themselves of Murder
No charges against police in shooting death of Jeff Hughes
Nanaimo man, 48, was shot and killed by Nanaimo Mounties in October of 2009
Danielle Bell, Daily News
Published: Saturday, May 21, 2011
Nanaimo RCMP officers will not be charged in the police-shooting death of a 48-year-old Nanaimo man.
Victoria Police major crime division detectives concluded their criminal investigation into the death of Jeffrey Scott Hughes, who was shot and killed by Nanaimo Mounties outside his Selby Street apartment on Oct. 23, 2009.
Police on Saturday announced there was no basis to recommend any criminal charges.
Officials said the "exhaustive" criminal investigation included interviews with dozens of witnesses, including the officers involved, and a detailed forensic examination of the scene.
"We didn't find anything based on the investigation, interviews or forensics that would warrant criminal charges," said Staff Sgt. Grant Hamilton on Saturday. "(Nanaimo RCMP) did everything they should have."
Nanaimo Mounties could still face discipline under internal RCMP reviews, said Hamilton, where sanctions can range up to dismissal from the force. The status of this investigation is unknown since they are conducted through the E-Division Professional Standards Unit. Victoria officials were tasked only with determining if there was anything that could warrant criminal charges.
Despite the conclusion, more than 18 months after the shooting, police refuse to release information including how many officers were involved, how many shots were fired and whether Hughes had a weapon.
Since an inquest into the death of Hughes has been scheduled, where a presiding coroner and jury will hear evidence from subpoenaed witnesses, police say they will not discuss the case.
Described by neighbours as a harmless man who loved the environment and dabbled in neo-Nazism, Hughes was shot and killed by police responding following a 6 a.m. noise complaint.
The coroner's inquest, announced in February, will hear evidence from subpoenaed witnesses to determine the facts surrounding his death. Officers and witnesses testify and the proceedings are open to the public.
Recommendations aimed at preventing such deaths can be made but the aim of a coroner's inquest, which is routine for police in-custody deaths, is not to place blame but to identify any areas of improvement.
An inquest into the death of Hughes is scheduled in Nanaimo in July.
Police turned the case over to the B.C. Coroners Service, who will be the lead investigating agency.