RCMP cancels lab services for poaching cases

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Woody Williams
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Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2002 4:07 pm

RCMP cancels lab services for poaching cases

Post by Woody Williams » Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:43 pm

RCMP cancels lab services for poaching cases: Move may mean illegal
hunters go free with no evidence to convict them

OTTAWA - The RCMP has withdrawn crucial forensic laboratory services for wildlife law enforcement agencies across Canada, a move experts say
could undermine the prosecution of poachers and other illegal hunters,
including those who prey on endangered species.

Assistant commissioner Joe Buckle, in charge of the six RCMP forensic
laboratories across the country, three of which conduct forensic work on
firearms, told the agencies that Mountie firearms forensic work for
wildlife cases would be limited to investigations involving the Criminal
Code.

Buckle's memo, sent last late month, said increasing demand on the RCMP
forensic laboratories in criminal cases such as murder forced the
Mounties to return to "strict adherence" to its original core mandate of
criminal investigations.

"Unfortunately, due to the heavy pressure on our firearms services, FLS
can only continue to provide analysis in those instances where there is
associated criminal activity," says the Aug. 28 memo, a copy of which
was obtained by CanWest News Service. "As an example, firearms analysis of exhibits associated with Wildlife Act and Regulation contraventions can no longer be accepted."

Canadian Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz said he believes the requirements
of maintaining the federal gun registry and enforcing the Firearms Act
are causing excessive pressure on the RCMP laboratory system.

He noted the rate of crime and homicide involving firearms has declined
steadily for more than a decade. From 1991 to 2001, the latest available
statistics, the number of homicides involving firearms in Canada
gradually dropped, with some ups and downs in between, from 271 to 171.

"Here you have a law that was supposed to lower crime, which may end up letting lawbreakers go free," said Breitkreuz.

An RCMP spokesman, however, denied the gun registry is related to the
change in policy or the increased demand on the RCMP laboratories.

"That has nothing to do with it," said Sgt. Jocelyn Mimeault. "It has to
do with prioritizing your work."

Buckle told the provincial wildlife law enforcement agencies they would
have to seek other forensic laboratory services, from either governments
or private-sector agencies, for all prosecutions involving federal or
provincial non-criminal statutes.

A separate RCMP memo advised at least one provincial agency, the Nova
Scotia Natural Resources Department, to seek forensic services from a
U.S. agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory, in
Ashland, Ore. The memo said the Ashland facility would provide the
service without charge.

A senior wildlife officer in Nova Scotia said the change was a shock to
provincial agencies and could endanger successful prosecution of
poachers and illegal hunters.

RCMP forensic laboratories are located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina,
Winnipeg, Ottawa and Halifax.

Only the laboratories in Vancouver, Regina and Halifax conduct forensic
analysis of firearms. The provincial governments do not pay for the work
done by the RCMP laboratories.
Woody Williams

We have met the enemy and he is us - Pogo Possum

Hunting in Indiana at [size=84][color=Red][b][url=http://huntingindiana.proboards52.com]HUNT-INDIANA[/url][/b][/color][/size]

Woodsman
Posts: 2928
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2003 9:16 pm
Location: Montreal, Quebec

Post by Woodsman » Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:32 pm

It's absolutely about spending a billion dollars on firearms registry instead of using the money for core police work!
Pete

The great outdoors is where I want to be.

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