2 Cape Breton officers disciplined over arrest of Christopher Garnier

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Christopher Garnier is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and indignity to a human body in the 2015 death of Truro police officer Catherine Campbell.  (CBC - image credit)
Christopher Garnier is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and indignity to a human body in the 2015 death of Truro police officer Catherine Campbell. (CBC - image credit)

Two Cape Breton Regional Police officers have been disciplined for the way they handled the arrest of Christopher Garnier on allegations he breached release conditions while awaiting trial for the death off an off-duty police officer.

In a decision released Tuesday, the Nova Scotia Police Review Board found constables Dennis MacSween and Troy Walker should have obtained a warrant before placing Garnier under arrest. The board cleared two other officers of wrongdoing.

Garnier was charged in September 2015 in the killing of Catherine Campbell, a constable with the police department in Truro, N.S. The two had met at a Halifax bar. Garnier was eventually convicted of second-degree murder.

Garnier was free on conditions while awaiting trial on the murder charge. His conditions included that he stay at either his father's condo in Bedford, N.S., or his mother's home in Cape Breton.

Police checks

On Feb. 17, 2017, a Halifax Regional Police officer checked at the Garnier residence in Bedford to see if he was there. He was not. Garnier had left a message for Halifax police, telling them of his plans to visit his mother. For some reason, that message did not get through to the officer.

Since Garnier wasn't at his father's residence, Halifax police contacted their counterparts in Cape Breton, asking that they check at the home of his mother, Kim Edmunds, in Millville, N.S.

An officer knocked on the door of Edmunds' home at 1 a.m. on Feb. 18. There was no answer.

Officers were sent back to the Edmunds residence at 10 p.m. that night. They took pictures of the entrances to the home and placed Garnier under arrest for allegedly breaching his release conditions.

Garnier was transported back to Halifax and held in custody until a hearing in April 2017, at which point the breach charges against him were dismissed.

Complaint taken to police board

Garnier's family, represented by his father, Vince Garnier, complained about the conduct of four Cape Breton Regional Police officers who went to the Edmunds property to take photographs and place Garnier under arrest.

In Tuesday's decision, the police review board found MacSween and Walker committed a disciplinary default by not obtaining a warrant before the arrest, and ordered they be reprimanded for breaching a section of the code of conduct of the Police Act.

The board found Garnier was denied his freedom for almost two months before a justice of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court dismissed the breach charges.

Garnier was subsequently found guilty in Campbell's death and is serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 13½ years. He was also convicted of improperly interfering with human remains for placing Campbell's body in a green bin and wheeling it through the streets of Halifax.

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