The trial of Constable Joshua Grafton, an RCMP officer from British Columbia, has concluded with his acquittal of assault and obstruction of justice charges. The case, which involved the arrest of two suspects in Prince George in 2016, took over seven and a half years to reach a verdict.
Grafton, who was the dog handler involved in the arrest, was found not guilty of assault and assault with a weapon. The charges against the other two officers involved in the incident were stayed earlier this year.
According to the ruling, Grafton used a police dog to apprehend one of the suspects and struck him multiple times during the arrest. The judge determined that Grafton’s use of force was proportionate and necessary given the high-risk nature of the situation.
The length of time it took for the case to conclude has drawn criticism from Grafton’s lawyer, Ravi Hira, who argues that the justice system should be held accountable for the delay. Hira claims that the case took two years to process through the Independent Investigations Office and an additional two years through the B.C. Prosecution Service’s office.
The prolonged investigation and court process have had a significant impact on Grafton’s career, preventing him from being relocated or promoted for over seven years. The National Police Federation, which represents non-commissioned RCMP officers, also criticized the delays, calling the outcome unacceptable.
The BC Prosecution Service stated that it strives to bring cases to trial as quickly as possible but cited unavoidable circumstances, such as the complex nature of the case and the COVID-19 pandemic, as contributing factors to the delay.
In conclusion, a B.C. RCMP officer has been acquitted after a lengthy court process that spanned over seven years. The delays in the case have raised concerns about the justice system’s ability to provide timely resolutions to legal matters.