OTTAWA — The suspended Mountie charged with stabbing an Ottawa police officer to death has been remanded in protective custody until Jan. 7.
Kevin Gregson, 43, appeared in an Ottawa courtroom today, facing charges of robbery and the first-degree murder of 51-year-old Const. Eric Czapnik, who was ambushed while sitting in his cruiser taking notes outside an Ottawa hospital.
The Crown asked that he be put on suicide watch — a request that was not opposed by his lawyer.
The Crown also requested that Gregson be banned from contacting five potential witnesses who still need to be questioned, mostly family members, including some children.
Gregson’s lawyer, Israel Gencher, said police questioned his client for hours on Tuesday night, but he has yet to see the reports from the interrogation.
Gencher said he is considering asking for a psychiatric assessment for Gregson.
The brown-haired man with a receding hairline was dressed in a blue jumpsuit and had his hands in cuffs for his brief mid-morning court appearance.
He kept his eyes downcast throughout, while his subdued elderly parents watched from the other side of the courtroom, sticking close together.
“His parents are understandably quite upset, and they are asking to please honour their privacy,” Gencher said after the hearing.
“They’re elderly. This has rocked their world, and they’re really not in a position to give a statement at this time.”
Gencher said the accused man is still considered a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, although his status is the subject of a labour dispute that is in litigation.
The RCMP has also clarified that Gregson is still a Mountie, although he has been ordered to quit his post.
Gregson was suspended with pay from the RCMP “F” Division in Saskatchewan in 2006 and recently suspended without pay. He has been ordered to resign from the Force or be dismissed. His dismissal has been appealed.
Gregson grew up in Ottawa, and has family here as well as an ex-wife in Saskatchewan, Gencher said.
He added that it’s normal for officers in custody to have extra protection, since past cases have suggested that the safety of current or former officers in jail is at risk.