By Korie Marshall
After nearly a full year, the Crown is still unable to make disclosure to the defendant on charges against Shanna Buehler.
In Valemount Court last week, Crown prosecutor Geoff McDonald said they’ve received the evidence pertaining to charges against Buehler, but the Crown is not yet able to turn it over to the defence.
“The materials in their current form cannot be disclosed as they contain large amounts of RCMP trade craft which cannot be made public,” McDonald told Judge S. Keys. He said the materials are currently being reviewed and redacted so that the trade craft is not publically disclosed, and he is unsure how long the process will take.
“I don’t think we have any choice, despite this being a full year old, to set it over to the Oct 29th date,” said Shawn Buckley, Buehler’s lawyer, who appeared for her. That is the next scheduled date for Court in Valemount. “My understanding is that it is going to be quite a volume of disclosure.”
McDonald said there is a great volume of disclosure from several overlapping investigations; Major Crime’s investigation of Buehler relating to her involvement with the RCMP’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) members the day her father was killed; the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) investigation of the RCMP for their involvement in the death and the injury of Buehler herself, and the original investigation of break and enter, mischief and illegal possession of firearms by Valemount RCMP.
“The final confrontation between the ERT members and Ms. Buehler are highly relevant obviously to allegations that she had broken into and had occupied the cabin and was carrying firearms which it was illegal for her to have,” said McDonald. “As it involved very serious consequences, particularly for her father, there are many many reports. My friend may well be coming to the Court to say “I haven’t had sufficient time” and if he does that I doubt I’ll be in a position to object strenuously. It’s taken the Crown a long time to get through the material ourselves.”
Shanna Buehler’s father John was killed in a shoot-out with ERT members on Sept. 17th, 2014 on the west side or Kinbasket Reservoir, where the pair had been camped out in a local family’s trapping cabin. Shanna also sustained multiple gunshot wounds. She surrendered to Valemount RCMP and was released Oct. 9th, 2014, after being released from hospital.
The IIO is a civilian-led watchdog that investigates incidents of serious harm and injury involving the RCMP, and either makes recommendations to the Crown if it believes charges against RCMP members are warranted, or makes a public report. The agency, established in 2012, has no deadline for finishing its investigation, but spokesperson Kellie Kilpatrick told the Goat the final results from the forensics lab are not expected until the end of September.