RCMP officer accused in B.C. shooting death elects jury trial

Case of RCMP Constable Jason Tait has first hearing in 2015 shooting death of Waylon Jesse Edey.

The case of the Castlegar RCMP officer charged with manslaughter came before a judge for the first time on Monday.

Jason Tait, a West Kootenay Traffic Unit constable, is charged with manslaughter using a firearm in relation to the shooting of 29-year-old Waylon Jesse Edey during an attempted traffic stop near Castlegar on Jan. 29, 2015.

READ MORE: Constable charged in 2015 shooting

Tait’s lawyer, David Butcher, appeared before the court on his behalf.

Tait elected for a trial by jury and requested the proceedings take place in front of a judge from outside of the West Kootenay. Both requests were granted by Judge Philip Seagram.

Butcher also requested a preliminary inquiry.

“Given the unusual nature of the charge and the seriousness of it, I am going to want to conduct a full preliminary inquiry,” he said.

Tait’s next appearance will be June 14 to fix a date for the inquiry with the condition that the defence files a statement of issues and witnesses before that date.

The charges came more than three years after the incident and after a lengthy investigation by the Independent Investigation Office, B.C.’s police watchdog.

READ MORE: IIO Investigation into Castlegar incident in final stages

READ MORE: Man fatally shot by RCMP had a history of impaired driving

Castlegar RCMP and West Kootenay Traffic Services had been responding to a complaint of an impaired driver in the Castlegar area.

Police eventually located the suspect driving west on Highway 3 on the Kinnaird Bridge in south Castlegar.

According to court documents, Tait had pulled over, gotten out of his cruiser on foot, and tried to get the driver to pull over.

The driver did not stop, but hit the police cruiser. Then, Tait fired his service pistol.

Edey was taken to hospital, but did not survive.

His mother, Deborah Edey, has also filed a civil lawsuit against Tait, alleging the use of deadly force was unwarranted.

She and another relative were present for Monday’s court appearance.

READ MORE: Mother of Waylon Edey sues RCMP officer

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