Bathurst police chief to handle disciplinary process for 2 officers cleared in fatal shooting

The disciplinary process for two Bathurst police officers previously charged in the shooting death of a Tracadie businessman will not be handled by the New Brunswick Police Commission.

Instead, the commission says it will be up to Bathurst police Chief Eugene Poitras to oversee the process involving Const. Patrick Bulger and Const. Mathieu Boudreau and for the police force to foot the bill.

The officers were each charged with manslaughter with a weapon, two counts of assault with a weapon, and two counts of unlawfully pointing a firearm in the 2015 death of Michel Vienneau.

But the charges were dropped in February after a provincial court judge ruled that the prosecution failed to make its case after a preliminary hearing.

In a statement Monday, the commission said Poitras submitted a misconduct complaint against the officers in Dec. 2015 and asked that the commission handle the Police Act disciplinary process.

"The Commission agreed to assume the matter with the understanding that all costs for the investigation and Police Act proceedings would be equally shared between the Commission and the City of Bathurst," the statement reads.

But the commission said it has been told by Bathurst City Council that they're not prepared to endorse the agreement, "thus returning authority and full costs for the disciplinary process to the Chief of Police."

"As such, the New Brunswick Police Commission will be exercising our oversight responsibilities in ensuring that the Chief of the Bathurst Police Force exercises his obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct Regulation - Police Act once all criminal proceedings against the two subject officers is completed."

After the February ruling, Crown attorney Stephen Holt said the Crown is examining its options and may appeal, or could examine going to trial through a direct indictment.

The 51-year-old Vienneau was shot outside the Bathurst train station on Jan. 12, 2015 during what police said was a drug probe.

An RCMP investigation later revealed that Vienneau, who owned an electronics store, was not involved in criminal activity.

With files from The Canadian Press