Attempted murder charge against RCMP officer dropped

Charge first sworn after incident near Topley Landing this summer

Crown prosecutors drop attempted murder charge. (File illustration)

Crown prosecutors drop attempted murder charge. (File illustration)

Crown prosecutors have dropped a charge of attempted murder of a Houston RCMP officer and instead have approved one of flight from police.

The charge was filed against Thomas Kennedy when he was alleged to have driven a truck at Houston RCMP Constable Steven Bruce as the constable tried to stop a vehicle south of Granisle in the early morning hours of Aug. 30.

Bruce and another officer had been responding to a report of a boat theft near Topley Landing and had stationed themselves near a bridge to stop traffic travelling south toward Hwy16.

Although the attempted murder charge was originally sworn by police, its circumstances were reviewed and an assessment then made by Crown prosecutors who have final charge authority. The substitution was then made.

“The charges approved were those the Crown concluded met the charge assessment standard,” wrote Dan McLaughlin who handles communications for the BC Prosecution Service.

He did not comment directly on the original attempted murder charge, noting instead that Crown prosecutors apply a two-part test, whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction and whether prosecution is in the public interest.

“Crown counsel must consider what material evidence is likely to be admissible and available at a trial; the objective reliability of the admissible evidence; whether there are viable defences or other legal or constitutional amendments to the prosecution, that remove any substantial likelihood of a conviction,” McLaughlin wrote.

Additional charges sworn the end of August against Kennedy for break and enter at Spindrift Lodge in the early morning hours of Aug. 30, dangerous use of a vehicle and three counts relating to possessing the Dodge pickup driven at Bruce and a boat and trailer knowing that the property was stolen.

A second person, Nicole Lencucha, has also been charged in relation to the thefts.

Court documents indicate that Bruce responded to the truck being driven toward him by firing his service pistol.

Kennedy was taken to hospital for an injury to his wrist, treated and released into police custody.

While the criminal charges against Kennedy and Lencucha work their way through the justice system, an independent office that investigates incidents when people are either injured or killed during interactions with police has concluded its probe into the injury.

“The Independent Investigations Office of B.C.’s initial investigative steps sought to confirm the level of injury the man sustained,” read the results of the probe.

“The chief civilian director has reviewed the medical evidence and determined that the injury does not meet the Police Act definition of serious harm.”

Topley Landing is near Granisle just off of Hwy 118 that runs north of Topley, which is located at the junction of Hwy 118 and Hwy 16 approximately halfway between Houston and Burns Lake.