Ontario police to conduct criminal probe into leaked Portapique 911 calls

·2 min read
Nova Scotians created a memorial to the victims at a local church.  (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Nova Scotians created a memorial to the victims at a local church. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

Nova Scotia RCMP have asked the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct a criminal investigation into the release of the 911 calls made during the Portapique murders last year.

In June, Frank Magazine published the recordings and transcripts of three 911 calls from the night the 22 people were killed in and around Portapique, N.S., in April 2020.

"As soon as the RCMP learned of the unauthorized release of the 911 recordings, our first priority was to speak with the victims' families via a liaison officer and we assured them that an investigation would be undertaken," Cpl. Chris Marshall said in a news release Friday.

Nova Scotia RCMP asked the OPP to "conduct an independent criminal investigation into the unauthorized release of the 911 recordings and whether any charges would be warranted. The RCMP will support the OPP investigation as required."

The RCMP said it's important for people to know their 911 calls will be protected. The Nova Scotia police force also said it won't answer any more questions about the probe, but will defer to the OPP.

An emergency alert was never issued about the gunman. When people questioned why the RCMP didn't send one, officials initially said they were satisfied with communication via Twitter.

RCMP have said they didn't have the full details about their suspect's uniform and replica car until about eight hours after 911 calls started coming in. It would be several hours after that that the force communicated the information via Twitter.

In the recordings Frank Magazine published, callers told 911 that night that he lived in the neighbourhood and drove a police car.

The province's Emergency 911 Act refers to the requirement for calls to remain confidential, but it says nothing about a media outlet publishing them should they be leaked. 911 calls often become public in courtroom settings.

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