A Review of the Investigation into the Police-Involved Shooting at the Starlight Casino
Foreword by Chief Civilian Director of the Independent Investigations Office
On November 8, 2012 in the vicinity of the Starlight Casino, New Westminster, B.C., as a result of interactions with the police, a male affected person sustained a gunshot wound to his torso and died 10 days later in hospital.
Fifty nine days after the IIO was established, the Independent Investigations Office commenced an investigation into the use of force applied by police and the death of the affected person. On July 13, 2013, the IIO submitted a report to Crown counsel for consideration of charges.
On October 20, 2014, after approval by Crown counsel, an officer with the Delta Police Department was charged with one count of second-degree murder for the death of the male affected person. On July 14, 2015, based on a further review, the Crown directed a stay of proceedings.
The issues surrounding this file became the matter of very public conversation and debate. Questions were raised about the competence of the IIO, which had the potential to impact the public’s confidence in the IIO. Subsequently, the Delta Police Association submitted a complaint letter listing alleged defects in the IIO investigation. As a result, the IIO initiated a review of the investigation. This examination has not only helped the organization to better understand where improvements needed to be made and to develop solutions, but the exercise additionally sends a message to the public and police that the IIO is accountable and willing to acknowledge the need to change and grow.
As part of that process, the IIO contracted Doug Kiloh, who is a former RCMP Superintendent with extensive experience in Major Case Management and Emergency Response Teams, to review the IIO’s investigation. Mr. Kiloh was not involved in any way with the investigation nor the subsequent referral to Crown.
I have accepted the conclusions and recommendations outlined in his report, which is attached, in their entirety. I have asked Mr. Kiloh to provide a copy of his report that protects the privacy of all parties mentioned. While it is important to identify the incident to ensure the public understands what this report refers to, we also recognize that the goals of transparency can be met without identification of individuals. This ensures consistency with our usual public reports into police-related incidents.
For all of these reasons I have determined that it is in the public interest to release this report, pursuant to s. 25(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
This investigation took place in 2012 very early in the life of the IIO as an organization. Numerous changes have since been implemented at the IIO to enhance operational and administrative practices that address the issues identified by Mr. Kiloh. These include the adoption of a manual of investigations that guides investigative practices, development of a witness and affected person strategy, more rigorous training for investigators, an improved system to manage and process evidence and a new approach in presenting cases to Crown counsel. Many of these developments are expanded upon in Mr. Kiloh’s report. Other improvements have occurred since the date of the report.
As the Chief Civilian Director of the IIO, I am focused on ensuring our investigations are carried out in as excellent and timely a manner as possible. We will always work to improve where necessary. This report and our response to it is an example of how the IIO is prepared to receive feedback and acknowledge weaknesses, recognize the need to improve, and make the needed changes. As a result, the IIO has benefitted from the many improvements, and will work to continue to ensure the people of British Columbia can have the utmost confidence in its civilian oversight of police.
Ronald J. MacDonald, QC
Chief Civilian Director
Independent Investigations Office of BC
March 21, 2018