Verdict expected today in RCMP Labour Code trial in 2014 Moncton shooting spree

RCMP investigators work at the home of shooting suspect Justin Bourque in Moncton, N.B. on Sunday, June 8, 2014.
RCMP investigators work at the home of shooting suspect Justin Bourque in Moncton, N.B. on Sunday, June 8, 2014. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

A provincial court judge is expected to hand down his verdict today in the RCMP’s Labour Code trial stemming from a shooting rampage in New Brunswick that left three officers dead and two injured.

The RCMP has pleaded not guilty to failing to provide officers with the appropriate equipment and training after Justin Bourque’s 2014 shooting spree.

READ MORE: Mountie tears up as he recalls events of Moncton shooting at RCMP labour trial

C8 carbine rifles were not available to general duty officers during Bourque’s shooting spree, and numerous witnesses have testified they could have made a difference.

Carbine rifles were approved for use in 2011, but their rollout was delayed on several occasions.

The defence argued at the trial that the RCMP exercised due diligence in its rollout of patrol carbines, while the Crown argued management knew front-line officers were at risk and the rollout of carbines took too long.

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WATCH: Global investigation looks at whether RCMP were prepared for Moncton shooting

Constables Fabrice Gevaudan, Dave Ross and Doug Larche were killed, while constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were wounded when Bourque targeted police officers in hopes of sparking an anti-government rebellion.

The rampage set off a 30-hour manhunt that drew in officers from around the region.

READ MORE: Mountie was ‘waiting to be shot again’ during Moncton shooting: RCMP labour trial

Mounties were called to testify on both sides of the case. A constable who crouched behind his cruiser wounded and bleeding declared front-line officers in Moncton were outgunned by Bourque, while retired commissioner Bob Paulson told the court the C8 carbine had to be rolled out responsibly.

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In his closing argument in July, Crown prosecutor Paul Adams called Paulson “contrived” in his testimony at the trial, saying he contradicted himself in categorically refusing to acknowledge that officers were not properly trained or equipped to respond to the fatal shooting – despite overwhelming evidence that said the opposite.

WATCH: RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson testifies in Moncton trial

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RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson testifies in Moncton trial – Jun 15, 2017

Paulson had testified he was involved in initial discussions about the introduction of the C8 carbine, and said officers were reasonably trained and the carbine rollout was reasonable.

Meanwhile, RCMP lawyers argued the national police force exercised due diligence. Defence lawyer Ian Carter said bureaucracy dictates how governments work and adopting patrol carbines for the RCMP took time for a number of reasons, including finances and federal procurement regulations.

READ MORE: RCMP officers speak publicly about Moncton massacre for the first time

Adams argued the RCMP pushed the patrol carbine issue to the back burner for at least two years when it was dealing with the public backlash from the 2007 Tasering death of Robert Dziekanski, and that cannot be considered excising due diligence.

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Bourque was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 75 years after pleading guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

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