Smyth misled inquiry with false statements, new BlackBerry messages suggest


Published on February 8, 2017

RNC Const. Joe Smyth sits in the Dunphy Inquiry hearing room Wednesday morning during proceedings. Newly recovered BlackBerry messages indicates that Smyth made false statements under oath when he testified at the inquiry last month.

©James McLeod/The Telegram

RNC Const. Joe Smyth appears to have misled the Dunphy Inquiry in testimony last month, newly discovered BlackBerry messages show.

The revelation comes out of newly discovered messages that Smyth sent and received on the weekend before he visited Dunphy, and ultimately shot and killed him, and messages sent the day after the shooting.

The BlackBerry messages, entered into evidence at the Dunphy Inquiry Wednesday, reveal that Smyth consulted with fellow RNC officer Tim Buckle in drafting his notes about what happened at Dunphy’s house on the day of the shooting.

This is especially significant, because Smyth conspicuously omitted this fact when he was testifying under oath at the inquiry.

Donald Dunphy was shot and killed in his Mitchell's Brook home on Easter Sunday, 2015, by Smyth.

Smyth was assigned to the protective services unit of the RNC at the time, and he was at Dunphy's home assessing a potential threat against then-premier Paul Davis, based on several messages Dunphy posted on Twitter.

Smyth has testified that Dunphy invited him into the house, but then became agitated and Dunphy pointed a rifle at him.

Smyth then shot and killed Dunphy in self-defence.

The inquiry is investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The RCMP didn’t take a statement from Smyth on the day of the shooting, but they spoke to him the following day, and Smyth brought notes to the interview about what happened.

When Smyth was testifying in January, lawyer Sandra Chaytor asked him directly about those notes.

“In terms of the drafting of those notes, did you have any advice or any input into what should go in those notes?” Chaytor asked.

Smyth said, “No.”

“Did you consult with anyone in drafting that document?” Chaytor asked.

Smyth said, “I did send them to our legal counsel at their request.”

Smyth didn’t say anything about consulting Buckle, but the BlackBerry messages show that they discussed the wording of the statement.

In a BlackBerry message to Smyth, Buckle says about the notes, “Looks good… should you be more specific and say I perceived a threat of imminent death or (grievous) bodily harm…to quote the use of force police?”

Smyth replied “OK” and followed up saying “But a gun pointed at me is pretty straight forward,” and then “Using policy line in the circumstances feels pretty manufactured.”

Buckle disagreed, and wrote back, “It’s reflective of the training and articulation, I think it’s important to state that.”

Smyth’s testimony was supposed to be finished, but it’s now possible that he’ll be called to testify a second time to explain all of this.

The BlackBerry messages also show that Smyth called Dunphy a “lunatic threatening the premier” in a message to a friend named Trevor, and Smyth said he might have to arrest Dunphy.

This is also notable, since Smyth has said that he didn’t perceive Dunphy’s tweets as direct threats against the premier.

The Telegram approached Jerome Kennedy, the lawyer representing Smyth at the inquiry, but Kennedy said Smyth wouldn’t be making any comment at this time.

The BlackBerry messages are also significant because they were only recently discovered, through the course of the inquiry, which means that the RCMP officers conducting the homicide investigation didn’t see them.

Smyth’s phone was only seized by police 19 days after the shooting, and in that time, he deleted a number of text messages, which the police were ultimately able to recover.

The BlackBerry messenger service messages released Wednesday are also marked as “deleted” in the evidence exhibit. It’s not clear yet why they were missed by the RCMP the first time around.

Cpl. Steven Burke, the lead RCMP investigator on the file, was showed the BlackBerry messages on Wednesday. He said they wouldn’t have changed the RCMP’s decision not to recommend criminal charges against Smyth.

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Earlier story

RNC Const. Joe Smyth appears to have misled the Dunphy Inquiry in testimony last month, newly discovered BlackBerry messages show.

The revelation comes out of newly discovered messages that Smyth sent and received on the weekend before he visited Dunphy, and ultimately shot and killed him, and messages sent the day after the shooting.

The BlackBerry messages, entered into evidence at the Dunphy Inquiry Wednesday, reveal that Smyth consulted with fellow RNC officer Tim Buckle in drafting his notes about what happened at Dunphy’s house on the day of the shooting.

This is especially significant, because Smyth conspicuously omitted this fact when he was testifying under oath at the inquiry.

Donald Dunphy was shot and killed in his Mitchell's Brook home on Easter Sunday 2015 by Smyth.

Smyth was assigned to the protective services unit of the RNC at the time, and he was at Dunphy's home assessing a potential threat against then-premier Paul Davis, based on several messages Dunphy posted on Twitter.

Smyth has testified that Dunphy invited him into the house, but then became agitated and Dunphy pointed a rifle at him.

Smyth said he then shot and killed Dunphy in self defence.

The inquiry is investigating all of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

The RCMP didn’t take a statement from Smyth on the day of the shooting, but they spoke to him the following day, and Smyth brought notes to the interview about what happened.

When Smyth was testifying in January, lawyer Sandra Chaytor asked him directly about those notes.

“In terms of the drafting of those notes, did you have any advice or any input into what should go in those notes?” Chaytor asked.

Smyth said, “No.”

“Did you consult with anyone in drafting that document?” Chaytor asked.

Smyth said, “I did send them to our legal counsel at their request.”

Smyth didn’t say anything about consulting Buckle, but the BlackBerry messages show that they discussed the wording of the statement.

In a BlackBerry message to Smyth, Buckle says about the notes, “Looks good… should you be more specific and say I perceived a threat of imminent death or (grievous) bodily harm…to quote the use of force police?”

Smyth replied “OK” and followed up saying “But a gun pointed at me is pretty straight forward,” and then “Using policy line in the circumstances feels pretty manufactured.”

Buckle disagreed, and wrote back, “It’s reflective of the training and articulation, I think it’s important to state that.”

Smyth’s testimony was supposed to be finished, but it’s now possible that he’ll be called to testify a second time to explain all of this.

The BlackBerry messages also show that Smyth called Dunphy a “lunatic threatening the premier” in a message to a friend named Trevor, and Smyth said he might have to arrest Dunphy.

This is also notable, since Smyth has said that he didn’t perceive Dunphy’s tweets as direct threats against the premier.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com