Justice and Public Safety
September 30, 2016

The following is being distributed at the request of the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Death of Donald Dunphy:

Co-Counsel Appointed for Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Death of Donald Dunphy

Sandra. R. Chaytor, QC, and Kate O’Brien have been appointed as co-counsel for the Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Death of Donald Dunphy, the Honourable Justice Leo Barry, Commissioner of the Inquiry, announced today.

Ms. Chaytor was admitted to the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1989 having completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Memorial University in 1985 and having obtained her LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1988. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2007, the same year she was appointed co-counsel to the Commission of Inquiry on Hormone Receptor Testing, an inquiry in Newfoundland and Labrador which investigated errors in breast cancer testing. In 2010, she was appointed a Master and Taxing Officer of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. Ms. Chaytor is Deputy Managing partner of the St. John’s office of Cox & Palmer where her primary area of practice is litigation. She has presented cases at all levels of court within the province of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

Ms. O’Brien was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 2003 and the Bar of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2004 having obtained her LL.B. from the University of British Columbia in 2002. She completed a Bachelors of Engineering from Memorial University in 1996. Ms. O’Brien is a partner at the law firm of O’Brien White where she provides a range of legal services to individuals and businesses. She is an experienced litigator and has appeared at all levels of court in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Commission of Inquiry Respecting the Death of Donald Dunphy was established by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on September 23, 2016, in accordance with Part 1 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2006. The Terms of Reference for the inquiry are as follows:

  1. The commission of inquiry shall
    1. inquire into the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Donald Dunphy, including
      1. the date, time and place of his death,
      2. the cause of his death, and
      3. the manner of his death;
    2. inquire into the reason why a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer attended upon Mr. Dunphy on the day of his death, including whether or not the officer was directed to do so, and if so directed, by whom and for what objective;
    3. ascertain what information provided the basis for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer's attendance upon Mr. Dunphy on the day of his death, and the reliability, interpretation, evaluation, transmission and dissemination of that information;
    4. inquire into why the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer who attended upon Mr. Dunphy on the day of his death did so in an area of Royal Canadian Mounted Police jurisdiction, the criteria applied in reaching the decision to do so and the objective for the decision;
    5. inquire into the facts surrounding the command, control and implementation of any relevant police operation on the day of Mr. Dunphy's death, the actions of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer during the operation and the actions of any other Royal Newfoundland Constabulary or Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers involved both before and after Mr. Dunphy's death;
    6. inquire into the circumstances under which the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer who fired the fatal shot or shots on the day of Mr. Dunphy's death came to discharge his weapon;
    7. inquire into whether the relevant use of force protocols were properly adhered to in the circumstance of Mr. Dunphy's death;
    8. inquire into the relevant policies, protocols or manuals in force at the material time in either the Office of the Premier or the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, including particularly any policies, protocols or manuals relating to
      1. the security of the Premier and Cabinet Ministers,
      2. the monitoring of and response to social media, and
      3. with respect to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, policies, protocols or manuals governing communications by members with the public or the media following serious incidents and during active investigations;
    9. inquire whether Mr. Dunphy's use of social media had any role in the circumstances of his death;
    10. ascertain whether there were any material deficiencies in the investigation into Mr. Dunphy's death; and
    11. in accordance with section 4, make recommendations that the commission of inquiry considers necessary and advisable relating directly to the matters of public concern referred to in this section.
  2. The commission of inquiry, in carrying out the terms of reference referred to in subsection (1), shall consider the following:
    1. the need to maintain public confidence in law and order;
    2. the need to protect fundamental rights of citizens;
    3. the powers, duties and responsibilities of police; and
    4. the need to ensure the safety of police officers in the execution of their duties.

The commission of inquiry shall not express any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal responsibility of any person or organization.

The commission of inquiry shall terminate its work and deliver the final report to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety, who shall be the minister responsible for the commission of inquiry, before July 1, 2017.

Further details will be provided in the coming weeks in relation to the commission office, as well as a Notice of Hearings for Standing and Funding.

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Media contact:

Diane Blackmore
Chief Administrative Officer
709-729-0403 (as of October 4, 2016)
709-738-7800 (c/o Cox & Palmer)

2016 09 30                              3:40 p.m.