N.S. shooting : a former judge fears the impact of advice given to certain witnesses | Portapique massacre: Nova Scotia in mourning

Killing in N.-É. : an ex-judge fears the impact of advice given to some Witnesses | Portapique Massacre: Nova Scotia in Mourning

RCMP blocks the road in Portapique during the manhunt for the shooter who had killed several people, April 19, 2020 in Nova Scotia.

A former Supreme Court of Canada justice working on the Nova Scotia 2020 mass shooting inquiry says he fears the federal Justice Department may have discouraged witnesses from giving relevant evidence.

In an August 5 letter to the department, Thomas Cromwell cited advice the department gave to Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Superintendent Chris Leather prior to his testimony before the Board of Inquiry, July 28.

Mr. Cromwell said he was deeply concerned by Mr. Leather's assertion that he had been advised to simply be reactive rather than proactive, an approach which, according to Mr. former Supreme Court justice, will prevent the commission from fulfilling its mandate.

Thomas Cromwell, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, expressed his concerns in a letter to the Department of Justice.

Mr. Leather testified that in an earlier interview with commission counsel, he said nothing about emails or phone calls related to an April 28, 2020 meeting to which he had attended with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki because Justice Department lawyers suggested she take a reactive stance.

He said he had been advised not to proactively disclose the conversation with Ms. Lucki or the emails leading up to the meeting.

The April 28 teleconference, led by Ms. Lucki, focused on the effectiveness of RCMP news conferences in Nova Scotia in the days after the event, when a man dressed as an RCMP officer shot and killed 22 people on April 18 and 19, 2020.

Meeting notes taken by another senior RCMP official in New -Scotland Superintendent Darren Campbell say Ms Lucki said she promised then Public Safety Minister Bill Blair that the RCMP would release details of the killer's weapons to give weight to the Liberal government's pending gun control legislation.

This bombshell claim has sparked allegations of political interference in a police investigation, which have is under investigation by a parliamentary committee.

In a letter responding to the preo Mr. Cromwell's case, the Justice Department said his lawyers had not discouraged Mr. Leather from being proactive, and asserted that his comments on what he was told cannot only be the result of a misunderstanding.

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