Obstruction charge stayed for Mountie in case involving First Nations man’s death

The Crown has stayed a criminal charge against an RCMP officer in Prince George, B.C., just three days before his obstruction of justice trial was set to begin.

Const. Clarence (Alex) Alexander MacDonald was one of five RCMP officers charged in relation to the death of a Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en man in Prince George on July 18, 2017.

Dale Culver, 35, who was a father of three, died in police custody after an arrest and struggle with officers.

The stay of proceedings against MacDonald means that of the five RCMP officers originally charged, only two Mounties will go to trial.

Last month, prosecutors stayed manslaughter charges against two other RCMP officers, Const. Paul Ste-Marie and Const. Jean Francois Monette, at the start of their trial.

Under B.C. law, a stay of proceedings puts a prosecution on pause and, if it is not resumed within a year, it is treated as if it never started.

Prosecutors said the manslaughter charges were stayed because of a forensic pathologist’s error in determining the cause of Culver’s death.

The stay in MacDonald’s obstruction of justice case was confirmed by a B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) spokesperson in an email to CBC News on Monday.

The spokesperson said the BCPS wouldn’t comment on the reasons for the decision until the conclusion of trial proceedings against two other officers also charged with obstruction of justice in the Culver case.

Const. Arthur Dalman, and Sgt. Bayani (Jon) Eusebio Cruz have pleaded not guilty.

A judge is hearing pre-trial applications in the case this week in B.C. Provincial Court in Prince George.


Posted in CBC