Charges possible against RCMP officer in Beckett crash

Independent investigator delivers report to Crown counsel on circumstances surrounding fatal crash in Langford

Charges are being considered against a West Shore RCMP officer as part of the investigation into the fatal crash that led to the death of Const. Sarah Beckett.

B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office (IIO) has filed a report to Crown counsel for consideration of charges in connection to the fatal crash that took place on April 5, 2016 in Langford.

Prior to the crash another RCMP officer, who is the subject of the IIO’s investigation, attempted to pull over a civilian vehicle, believed to be driven by Kenneth Jacob Fenton. The vehicle did not stop and collided with Beckett’s police cruiser at the Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue intersection.

The IIO’s investigation focused on the actions of the RCMP officer who attempted to pull over the civilian vehicle and includes the circumstances around the collision and subsequent information provided by the subject officer to the RCMP.

A report is forwarded to Crown counsel for consideration of charges when the IIO’s chief civilian director considers that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment. However, the IIO does not make a recommendation on whether charges should be approved and according to a release from the IIO, their threshold for referral to Crown is lower than for law enforcement agencies in the province.

The IIO is a civilian-led agency that investigates all officer-related incidents that result in death or serious harm, as defined in Part 11 of the Police Act.

While the IIO was originally notified when the crash occurred, they did not begin their investigation until it was determined that police attempted to stop the civilian vehicle prior to the crash.

Due to the fact Crown will be considering whether to proceed with charges, no public report will be issued by the IIO and they will not be providing any further information.

Fenton’s lawyer said in court last month that his client won’t be entering a plea to charges relating to the crash until the IIO’s report is complete and they have full disclosure. Fenton’s arraignment has been pushed four times in the last several months and he is next due to appear in court on Feb. 9.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com