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Watchdog says crime may have been committed in B.C. officer's deadly crash

Police watchdog forwards report in deadly crash

SURREY, B.C. — British Columbia's police watchdog has forwarded a report to Crown counsel for consideration of charges against an RCMP officer who was chasing a vehicle that hit a police cruiser, killing the officer inside.

Sarah Beckett, 32, was killed in her police vehicle while at an intersection near Victoria last April.

The Independent Investigations Office says it focused its investigation on the RCMP officer who first attempted to stop and pull over a vehicle.

The office says it has forwarded its report to the Crown to consider that the officer pursuing the vehicle may have committed an offence.

"The threshold for referral to Crown is lower for the IIO than for other law enforcement agencies in the province," the office said in a news release.

It does not make any recommendations whether charges should be approved, the office said.

In B.C., the Criminal Justice Branch has jurisdiction on both charge assessment and the charge approval process.

"In approving charges, the Criminal Justice Branch must be satisfied not only that an offence may have been committed, but that the commission of an offence can be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt."

There must be a substantial likelihood of conviction and the prosecution must be in the public interest, the news release says.

Kenneth Fenton, the man accused of hitting Beckett's vehicle broadside, faces five charges, including impaired driving causing death, flight from police causing death and refusing to provide a blood sample.

Beckett, a member of the West Shore RCMP detachment west of Victoria, died while working the overnight shift on April 5.

The 11-year veteran officer left behind a husband and two young sons.


The Canadian Press