The crime scene one day after James Hayward was fatally shot by a Port Hardy RCMP officer in 2015.

Letter to the Editor: IIO admits they made mistakes in Hayward investigation

Dear Editor,

My name is Nora Hayward, my nephew James Hayward was shot and killed in Port Hardy, July 8 2015. James was killed by the Port Hardy RCMP and an investigation was initiated by the IIO.

On July 20, 2017, the family met with the IIO to receive the results of this report. This meeting was extremely difficult and emotional and lasted about 10 minutes. The conclusion found by the IIO was that the RCMP officer did not commit any offence and the case will not be referred to Crown Counsel. We, the family, were mortified and stunned.

During the two year period that the report was in progress the family was in contact with the IIO on a fairly regular basis. The IIO were mostly attentive and empathetic, although they could not answer our questions until the conclusion of the report, again frustrating the family. The results of this report, as previously stated, were very disappointing to the family.

After the July 20 meeting, I was requested by the IIO to attend a training session with new IIO recruits. I was informed this session was to share how the family felt about the IIO’s actions throughout the process. This training session was held August 8, 2017 in Surrey B.C. at their office.

Upon arrival, I was introduced to the recruits. In the introduction it was stated that the IIO had made some mistakes and they did not want to make these mistakes in further cases. They felt they had “dropped the ball” and how did we as a family feel about this and how could they fix it? I was unaware of any mistakes (aside from us not learning James’ cause of death) and felt put on the spot. Upon investigation, I found out that the errors made were more missteps and oversights. It still would have been appropriate for me to be informed of these issues ahead of time.

During my investigating, I looked into the IIO website and a history of their cases. The 73 cases I looked at from 2012-2017 Public Reports not ONE was referred to Crown Counsel. They read over and over “no criminal offence, no further action required”. I know when I am being interviewed by persons in positions of authority I feel a degree of intimidation. Did the Civilian Witnesses feel this way, did they have a support person with them? Were they leading questions? Having access to these questions would be helpful in our acceptance that this investigation was transparent and true.

At this point I do not have faith that this investigation was unbiased or wholly truthful.

I do appreciate being given a voice by the IIO at this August 8 meeting, however veiled.

Nora Hayward,

Aunt of James Reginald Hayward