Son of Nova Scotia shooting victims expresses ‘disgust’ over publication of 911 tapes

Click to play video: 'Magazine facing backlash from public, victims’ families after releasing leaked audio'
Magazine facing backlash from public, victims’ families after releasing leaked audio
WATCH: A psychologist says the release of 911 audio from night of the shooting spree in Portapique last April is a “terrible failure.’ A magazine is facing backlash after the audio was leaked. Sarah Ritchie has more – Jun 4, 2021

One of the sons of two people murdered by the Nova Scotia gunman last April expressed ‘disgust’ Wednesday after a local magazine published the recordings of 911 calls made during the shooting.

Frank Magazine published the three recordings Wednesday that include what appears to be the call made by Jamie Blair, who was murdered by the gunman along with her husband Greg Blair as the killing spree began in Portapique, N.S.

The magazine also published the audio recording of a call made by Greg and Jamie’s 12-year-old son. He made the call shortly after witnessing his parents being murdered.

“F**K YOU FRANK MAGAZINE,” wrote Tyler Blair, another of Jamie and Greg’s sons, in a Facebook post expressing his anger. “YOU F**KING DISGUST ME.”

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In an article accompanying the audio recordings, the magazine said it published the audio because it was “in the public interest.”

The magazine added the recordings contain “valuable information” about what the RCMP knew at the time the shooting spree began and “strongly suggest” the police have been attempting to cover up information.

The magazine alleges the recordings show that police knew the gunman, Gabriel Wortman, was driving a marked RCMP cruiser at the time the 911 calls were made on the evening of April 18. Police have previously said they didn’t learn this information until the morning of April 19.

“I completely understand how this story and this audio would be absolutely shattering for certain people to hear,” the editor of Frank Magazine, Andrew Douglas, told CTV. “But we feel the fact that the newsworthiness of the story and the audio overrode all else in this.”

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Douglas also told CTV that the magazine contacted the families to let them know about the story in advance of the audio recordings being published.

Publication of the audio recordings was condemned Thursday by politicians, the police and the commissioners responsible for the joint federal and provincial public inquiry into the killing spree.

The RCMP said it is investigating the source of the leaked 911 calls and their publication.

“Publishing the audio recordings demonstrates a disgraceful disregard for the victims and their families. This publication has chosen to make public the darkest time in these families’ lives, with no regard for how it must feel to have to relive that tragedy in the public eye,” wrote RCMP Asst. Commissioner Lee Bergerman in a statement.

“We have spoken to victims’ families through our family liaison (officer), and are assuring them that we will be investigating the source of the recordings and any related offences that may have occurred with respect to unauthorized release, possession and subsequent publishing.”

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Brendan Maguire, the minister responsible for Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office, said it’s vital that 911 calls remain confidential due to the extremely sensitive nature of the content discussed. He also said that this is the first time he’s aware of a 911 audio recording being “leaked.”

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“It’s very important that people understand the confidentiality around the 911 calls,” Mcguire said. “People are calling that have been assaulted, that are in some of the worst cases, worst states of their life, and the public needs to be assured that when they call that these phone calls are private and that they’re being addressed.”

Nova Scotia’s Justice Minister Randy Delorey also said he’s looking into what measures, if any, can be taken to investigate the suspected leak of the 911 calls.

“The release and then public disclosure of the 911 calls is particularly concerning, especially in this instance, because of the impact that it can (have) — and I believe some early indication has had — on victims,” Delorey said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the three people responsible for the public inquiry, including former Chief Justice of Nova Scotia Michael MacDonald, said that they’ve communicated their concerns with victims’ family members and are requesting the magazine remove the audio recordings from its website.

“The Commission condemns the access and posting of the highly sensitive audio recordings posted this evening,” a written statement said. “We are extremely concerned for the privacy of those affected by the content, especially the child.”

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