Crown prosecutors withdrew an assault charge against a Red Deer RCMP officer in connection with an alleged 2020 cellblock altercation less than two weeks before a trial was to begin.
A charge of assault causing bodily harm was withdrawn March 22 against Const. Vincent Beaudoin-Turcotte. A three-day trial had been set to start last Monday.
“A key duty of a Crown prosecutor is to assess cases on an ongoing basis and ensure all aspects of the evidence are carefully considered at every stage of a prosecution,” said an Alberta Justice spokesperson in an email.
“In general, Crown assessment of files continue to evolve after the initial decision(s) are made to lay charges, and Crown prosecutors continue to evaluate the evidence in light of the prosecution standard that the matter is in the public interest there be a ‘reasonable likelihood of conviction.’
“If at any time following the laying of charges the Crown prosecutor becomes aware that there is insufficient evidence to proceed, the charges may be stayed, withdrawn or downgraded.”
Beaudoin-Turcotte was charged in March 2022 in connection with a May 16, 2020 incident at the Red Deer detachment. RCMP alleged that officers had gone to a cell to take a prisoner for fingerprinting when a “physical altercation” occurred. The prisoner was injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
RCMP conducted an internal review of the incident and an investigation took place as required, which led to the charge. A four-year officer at the time, Beaudoin-Turcotte was placed on administrative duties after being charged.
The Director of Law Enforcement was notified the day of the incident and deemed the matter to be “out of scope” of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) and advised it would remain with the Alberta RCMP. ASIRT investigates events where serious injury or death may have been caused by police and serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.
Meanwhile, another Red Deer RCMP officer is due to be sentenced on June 30 after being convicted last month of assault for an incident in the detachment cells three years ago.
Red Deer provincial court Judge Gordon Hatch said he was not convinced Cpl. Kent McDiarmid was justified in punching a heavily intoxicated Evan Deschamps in the face knocking him unconscious on March 2, 2020. McDiarmid remains a full-time RCMP officer doing mostly administrative duties.