Manslaughter charges stayed against B.C. officers accused in Indigenous man’s death

VICTORIA — Prosecutors in British Columbia say they have dropped a manslaughter case against two members of the Prince George RCMP who were accused in the 2017 death of 35-year-old Dale Culver.

The BC Prosecution Services says in a statement “there is no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction” in the case, which saw Cst. Paul Ste-Marie and Cst. Jean Francois Monette charged after Culver’s death on July 18, 2017.

The service says a Crown prosecutor was unable to resolve questions about the evidence around cause of death after a second pathologist reviewed the case and found the man died of a heart attack after struggling with officers while high on methamphetamine.

The service says that finding conflicted with the pathologist who performed an autopsy on Culver and concluded that the man died due to several factors, including “blunt force head trauma.” 

The service says the conflicting finding led prosecutors to conclude they could no longer prove their case against the Mounties beyond a reasonable doubt. 

In the prosecution service’s outline of the evidence, it says Culver was riding his bike in downtown Prince George when officers tried to stop him, and a “wrestling match ensued” between Culver and an officer who was trying to arrest him. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2024.

The Canadian Press