RCMP complaint findings regarding Ryan Good’s death grossly inadequate

On December 23rd 2014 RCMP issued complaint findings to GPDOTS director Trine Lise Good regarding the complaint she filed after her sons death investigation was closed with no charges laid and minimal investigation done. Previous to the complaint being filed Mrs Good had never been interviewed for an official statement in person by the RCMP in regards to her sons death. Frustrated with the lack of progress in her sons death investigation and being told his case was closed she filed a formal complaint on July 17, 2013.  The complaint findings are full of incorrect and contradicting information which only leaves Trine Good and her family asking more questions and feeling like they have been pacified by any means possible. On July 30, 2013 Corporal Calvin Byard was asked to investigate Mrs. Good’s allegations. Mrs. Good was surprised that an officer from the same area was sent to investigate her complaint.

After reading through the complaint findings serious areas of concern include:
1. Constable Kellock states he discussed the matter with the Crown lawyer Karen Quigley who gave the opinion that even with a confession from Leah Bordage there was no chance of conviction for criminal negligence causing death or possession for the purpose of trafficking . The Crown felt Ryan Good was a drug user and knew the risks involved in doing drugs which could lead to death . The Crown also stated Ryan was a grown adult and capable of consenting or refusing the drugs. By knowingly taking drugs he took a chance and as a result he died.
  • Trine Lise Good and GPDOTS feels this reasoning could be used in a variety of cases but would not be socially accepted. Examples could be : If the Crown said a prostitute should know the risk of assault when taking part in prostitution therefore if anyone assaults her/him than the crown would not pursue assault charges. If someone got into a car with a drunk driver and knew they were taking the risk of being in a accident does that remove the accountability of the drunk driver if that passenger was killed as a result of the driver breaking the law? The fact is in order for Ryan Good to die from a drug overdose someone broke the law by trafficking (providing) him the drugs. The Crown should not use their own morals or ethics to determine if someone breaking the law should be held accountable based on someone else actions ( in this case Ryans drug use)
2. The complaint continuously refers to Ryans cause of death as hydrocortisone and cocaine toxicity.
  • According to the Medical Examiners report Ryan’s cause of death was cocaine and hydromorphone toxicity. Hydrocortisone is a mild topical cream used for inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, topical steroids are used in addition to emollients (moisturisers) when patches of eczema or dermatitis flare up.
3. Constable Kellock told Mrs. Good that he could do nothing else until the toxicology report was complete but Mrs Good felt that more investigation could have been pursued in this suspicious death. Constable Kellock stated that in his career involving such cases , it is his practice to take advice from the medical examiners office , to interview the last person who saw the person alive and to interview the person who found the deceased. 
  • There is no protocol that exists to prevent Constable Kellock from investigating Ryan’s suspicious death until the toxicology came in. In fact the longer an officer waits to interview witnesses or people interested in providing statements , stories may change or details may be forgotten. Searching personal effects such as cell phones or other electronics can also provide valuable evidence to how the deceased came in possession with the drugs. You do not need a toxicology report to do any of the things mentioned above, especially when members of the public ( including the parents of the deceased ) want to give statements and provide leads Additional information and evidence was obtained after the complaint was filed and the case was reopened leading to charges against Leah Bordage.
4. The report states Sgt Belmeceda met with Trine Good.
  • Trine Good had never met with any officer including Sgt Belmeceda regarding her sons death until she filed a formal complaint. The first officer that met with her in person after the next of notification was Constable Calvin Byard to discuss her formal complaint against the RCMP. All communications were via email and telephone. 
5. Corporal Byard further discovered that Ms Bordage admitted to ****** , that she supplied Ryan with dilaudid. Corporal Byard felt this should be further investigated. Byard completed an investigation of the operational file and noted there were still some avenues of investigation that could be pursued such as interviewing all witnesses 
  • This occurred after the formal complaint was filed and the case had been reopened yet Inspector Dowling found Mrs Good’s complaint ” failed to ensure an adequate investigation of a suspicious death was conducted” as unsupported. 

6. Sergeant Kerr, in his review, read that on August 14th, 2013 , Corporal Byards spoke with Constable Andy Robinson at Cole Harbour RCMP who was the supervisor on December 10th, 2012, Constable Robinson advised he spoke with Constable Kellock briefly on this file and advised Constable to ensure the Medical Examiner was notified and follow any directions from the Medical Examiner. Constable Robinson advised that there was no crime scene as the death occurred at the Dartmouth General. 

  • To think that there was no crime scene because Ryan died on the way to the hospital is surprising being a suspicious death. If someone was assaulted and died in hospital the police would try to locate the crime scene. Acording to Constable Kellock Ms Bordage admitted Ryan had been consuming drugs with her up until his death. Whether prescription or illicit street drugs, police had reason to suspect illegal trafficking and drug use had occurred at Leah Bordages home where Ryan was found in cardiac arrest by EHS.
7. In the complaint ” Failed to lay criminal charges against Leah Bordage” was found by Inspector Dowling to be unsupported.
  • There were no charges laid and Ryan’s case was closed without interviewing all witness and investigating the case to the fullest extent possible. This is why Mrs. Good filed the formal complaint. Charges were only laid after the complaint was filed and Officer Byard was assigned to look over the file for the complaints commission and noted there were still some avenues of investigation that could be pursued such as interviewing all witnesses. 

8. From Sgt. Balmecedas review of Ms. Bordage’s statement and without any evidence to suggest that Ryan was physically forced to take the drugs or unknowingly administered the drugs we areleft to believe he willingly participated in taking the drugs and was capable of making the decision himself to do so. From his review Sgt. Belmeceda did not see any reason to continue to investigate the death itself.

  • Even though there was no evidence  to support Ryan was forced to ingest drugs, there was evidence to support  Ryan purchased or was given drugs to consume.This is a crime and should be investigated.The RCMP have been given direction from management to fully and thoroughly investigate circumstances and lay appropriate charges where applicable when a sudden death appears to be drug related.The file should include investigative steps to determine how the deceased came into possession of the drugs ( prescription or illicit). In consultation with supervisors related investigations such as trafficking or criminal negligence causing death should be considered and investigated.

9. Sgt. Balmecedas was also aware of a similar case in the Annapolis Valley. In the “Fredericks” case charges were laid in relation to trafficking which resulted in a sudden death. Ultimately the case was thrown out as it could not be proved that the drugs purchased were the same drugs that resulted in the subjects death.

  • We are not quite sure what influence this one court decision should have on doing a thorough investigation into Ryan Goods death or the possibility of laying charges connected to his death. There have been successful convictions in drug related deaths such as the Kelsey Pynch & Edward Melvin Fleet trials. Just because one trial does not have a successful outcome is that an excuse not to lay similar charges in the future? Would we be using the same thought process if someone was acquitted of a murder? Would the police then not lay charges in similar murders? Every case should be investigated on its own merit.

10. The report states that charges were laid against Leah Bordage on March 13th, 2013 for trafficking in a controlled substance.

  • Charges were not laid until March 2014. They were announced publicly March 19, 2014. After the complaint had been filed 9 months previous. 
The complaint decision is full of inaccurate and contradictory information. Mrs. Good had never asked for a murder investigation, she asked that her sons suspicious death be investigated properly so charges of trafficking or possibly criminal negligence causing death could be laid. She wanted to make sure if someone was trafficking such dangerous drugs there would be accountability and hopefully prevent future deaths and profiteering off these tragedies. If Mrs. Good had not have filed a complaint there would have been no further investigations and as a result no charges laid. The case was closed until her complaint was filed. What is most disheartening is instead of supporting Mrs. Good’s allegations of the lack of investigation and charges the RCMP kept the complaint open until they could try to rectify their mistakes and prevent a public apology. 

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