B.C. RCMP officer charged with manslaughter chooses trial by judge and jury

Cst. Jason Tait is set to be tried by judge and jury in September on charges that stem from a fatal traffic stop in Castlegar, B.C. on January 29, 2015.

Cst. Tait, a member of the West Kootenay traffic Unit at the time of the alleged offence, is accused of shooting Waylon Edey, who did not survive his injuries.

The 39-year-old Yahk, B.C. resident was being sought by police after reportedly being impaired behind the wheel, according to civil court documents filed by his mother, Deborah Edey.

According to the court documents, her son’s vehicle struck an RCMP cruiser then drove towards Cst. Tait, who fired his weapon.

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Cst. Tait was charged with manslaughter using a firearm and criminal negligence causing death with a firearm following a report to Crown Counsel by the B.C. Independent Investigation Office (IIO) on April 3, 2018, three years after the incident.

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“The charges were approved following a complete review of the available evidence by senior Crown Counsel,” according to a statement from the B.C. Prosecution Service.

A preliminary hearing in 2019 found there was enough evidence to tale the matter to trial.

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The officer’s case was in B.C. Supreme Court this week to set a date for a pre-trial conference.

The trial by judge and jury is set for Sept. 8, 2020 in Nelson, but it is unknown if it will have to be postponed due to COVID-19 impacts on the B.C. court system.

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