Scathing report says man's illegal detention by N.L. officer akin to 'police state'

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — A blistering report from a former senior officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has likened the force's illegal detention of a man to something that would happen in a police state.

Retired deputy chief Edmund Oates issued his report on June 30 in response to a complaint made by Andrew Abbass in 2017.

Abbass was involuntarily held in April 2015 at a psychiatric hospital in western Newfoundland for six days after he published a series of angry tweets about thefatal police shooting of Donald Dunphy, who had himself written tweets that the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary deemed threatening.

In his report, Oates calls the detention a "serious and wrongful deprivation" of Abbass's liberties stemming from a police officer's abuse of authority.

Though Oates does not name him, The Canadian Press has used publicly available documents to verify the officer in question was Tim Buckle, a sergeant who has since retired and did not respond to a request for comment.

The report says Buckle retired as a separate internal investigation into his alleged harassing and bullying behaviour concluded there were grounds to lay multiple disciplinary charges. Because he has retired, the force has to no jurisdiction to discipline him for Abbass's detainment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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