Lawyers for three RCMP officers charged with obstruction of justice by destroying evidence appeared on behalf of the officers in Moncton provincial court Monday.
Cpl. Mathieu Potvin, 32, Const. Eric Pichette, 39, and Const. Graham Bourque, 32, each face a single count of obstructing justice by destroying evidence during a criminal investigation. The alleged destruction happened May 15, 2019.
RCMP have not said what evidence was allegedly destroyed or what investigation it affected. A defence lawyer has said in court the evidence was surveillance video from an investigation into alleged drug trafficking.
The three officers were suspended with pay on Dec. 15 and charged Dec. 28. They were scheduled to make a first appearance on the charges Monday, but only their lawyers were present.
Defence lawyer Brian Munro, representing Pichette, requested an adjournment until April 19 to give him time to discuss the case with Crown prosecutor Claude Haché.
"I'm hoping there can be a resolution ... which should tell you something about what I think the strength of the Crown's case is," Munro told reporters following the appearance.
"I don't think it's strong at all."
Lawyer Luc Roy, representing Potvin, sought the same adjournment for time for discussion with the Crown. Roy told reporters his client won't be pleading guilty.
"He's going to go to court, he's going to plead not guilty if he needs to, and he's going to defend everything that needs to be defended," Roy said.
"He's a good cop ... worse comes to worst, we're going to trial."
Renée Roy, who is representing Bourque, declined comment.
Renée Roy told Judge Luc Labonté that she'll be seeking a publication ban on Bourque's identity.
"A little bit unusual," Renée Roy told Labonté when she brought up the request.
Such bans are standard for victims of sexual crimes or youth facing charges, but names of adults charged in most cases are public record under the open court principle.
The judge pointed out a similar request had been made in a case last week.
"We discussed it in the office, and we were all surprised by that motion because I don't believe the Criminal Code allows that," Labonté said.
A hearing on the publication ban request has been scheduled for March 22.
Murno and Luc Roy say they don't plan to seek a similar publication ban.
"The names are already public," Luc Roy said. "We prefer to get to the substance of the accusation itself, rather than filing that kind of motion."
The cases against all three officers are scheduled to return to court April 19 for election and plea.