Charges against RCMP Constable Ace Stewart in Killing of Five-Year-Old James McIntosh

In a rare instance in the Canadian state context, charges have been brought against RCMP Constable Ace Jimmy Stewart for the killing of five-year-old James McIntosh in Penticton, British Columbia on September 15, 2015. The charges come following an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency tasked with examining all cases of police harm to civilians in the province, almost a year after James McIntosh was killed. Constable Stewart struck James McIntosh with his vehicle while the child was riding his bike in an intersection along with his father and brother. The officer was off duty at the time. Constable Stewart has been charged with driving without due care and attention, under the Motor Vehicle Act. His first court appearance is scheduled to for October 12, 2016 in Penticton.

While the laying of charges is welcomed by many, and represents an almost unheard of decision in cases of police killings of civilians in Canada, it does not mean a conviction will follow, despite the evidence, as the recent acquittal of killer cop Remo Romano in Ontario shows. It may be the charges came in this case because a child was involved or because the officer was off duty (and thus the force can distance this killing from the formal policing role).

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