The RCMP has been ordered to pay $550,000 for failing to provide its members with proper equipment and training in the wake of a fatal shooting rampage four years ago in Moncton, N.B.
Judge Leslie Jackson handed down the sentence Friday in Moncton provincial court, which was packed with media and relatives of some of the officers who were gunned down in 2014.
Jackson fined the national force $100,000, along with $450,000 in charitable donations for scholarships at the Universite de Moncton and an education fund for the children of the fallen officers.
But, he said no sentence would deal with the families’ grief.
Constables Doug Larche, Fabrice Gevaudan and Dave Ross were killed, and constables Eric Dubois and Darlene Goguen were injured, when gunman Justin Bourque went hunting police officers in a Moncton neighbourhood.
READ MORE: Judge convicts RCMP in Moncton massacre
The force was convicted of failing to provide its members with adequate use-of-force equipment and user training.
Carbine rifles were not available to general duty officers at the time of the Moncton shootings, and during the Labour Code trial, numerous witnesses said they could have made a difference.
However, he said the response of the force since the incident “has been robust.” He said 56 of 60 recommendations in a report on the incident have been acted on.
Acting RCMP Commissioner Daniel Dubeau, who was present for the sentencing, said outside the courthouse that his thoughts were with the fallen officers and “the immense loss to their families and that’s something we can never replace.
“We also have to remember all the harm and the damage that was done to other people that attended that day and the community at large,” he said.
Dubeau said work remains to be done in improving the RCMP’s workplace safety.
“We really have to continue working together on their behalf and all our injured employees’ behalf to make it a safe and healthier workplace,” he said.
The high-powered carbines were approved in 2011, but their rollout was delayed on several occasions.
Then-commissioner Bob Paulson testified during the RCMP’s trial that management had concerns over the possible militarization of the force.
He told the court he worried the carbines could “distance the public from the police.” His testimony was met with anger and frustration from some members of the force.
At a sentencing hearing in November, Crown prosecutor Paul Adams asked that a $1-million penalty include a $100,000 fine to the court, $500,000 to the Universite de Moncton for memorial scholarships, $150,000 to educational trust funds for the children of the deceased officers, as well as other donations.
Bourque pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years.
The Canadian Press