BREAKERS: No charges for hit-and-run death – Water levels at 10 yr low – Complaints about RCMP harassment

October 14, 2022

  • No charges in August 2021 hit-and-run death of Colm Harty
  • Water levels at ten year low
  • Restaurant surprises patron who fell on their premises
  • Complaints about RCMP harassment of local residents
  • Cats rule! – here in Qualicum Beach and at No. 10 Downing Street in London

No charges in August 2021 hit-and-run death

Dan McLaughlin, Communications Counsel for the BC Prosecution Service confirmed that there will be no charges laid in the hit-and-run death of Qualicum Beach resident Colm Harty resulting from injuries suffered on August 28, 2021. Concerns were raised by Mr. Harty’s family and others about the prolonged time Oceanside RCMP took to complete their investigation, particulary since witnesses to the incident apprehended the driver moments later one block away and turned the driver over to the RCMP. For some unexplained reason, RCMP did not complete their investigation until May 2022 whereupon they recommended charges to the BC Prosecution Service. Read previous stories here. The following is the text of an email sent to Second Opinion QB by Dan McLaughlin on October 12, 2022 purporting to explain the BC Attorney-General’s decision not to lay charges. — Editor

“The BC Prosecution Service can confirm that no charges have been approved in relation to police file 2021-9301. The charge assessment guidelines that are applied by the BCPS in reviewing all Reports to Crown Counsel (RCCs) are established in policy and are available at:

“The BCPS applies a two-part test to determine whether criminal charges will be approved, and a prosecution initiated. Crown Counsel must independently, objectively and fairly measure all available evidence against a two-part test:

1. whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction; and, if so,

2. whether the public interest requires a prosecution.

“The reference to “likelihood” requires, at a minimum, that a conviction according to law is more likely than an acquittal. In this context, “substantial” refers not only to the probability of conviction but also to the objective strength or solidity of the evidence. A substantial likelihood of conviction exists if Crown Counsel is satisfied there is a strong and solid case of substance to present to the court.

“If Crown Counsel is satisfied that the evidentiary test is met, Crown Counsel must then determine whether the public interest requires a prosecution.

“In this case the assessing Crown Counsel was unable to conclude that the standard for approving charges was met so no prosecution will proceed.”

Dan McLaughlin, Communications Counsel, BC Prosecution Service, Ministry of Attorney-General

Water levels at ten year low

The ramifications on the west coast of this year’s prolonged drought are proving to be catastrophic, especially as a result of lower levels and warmer water in the rivers normally teeming with salmon returning to spawn.

In a recent discussion, RDN water services manager Murray Walters noted that “it’s really all about trying to keep water in rivers and creeks for the fish and other aquatic life at this point.”

But what about groundwater aquifers? Let’s check. There are a couple of observation wells here in Qualicum Beach that report water levels continuously. And the resulting data is readily available, charted in informative graphs thanks to the Provincial Groundwater Observation Well Network.

Here’s a recent picture of the daily min / max levels for the past ten years. October 2022 data are the red marks at the left of the graph, which also displays the historical aquifer replenishment patterns over the course of the year.

Observation Well 389 – Labernum Road area, Qualicum Beach

Notice the daily levels at this well (389) are currently lower than at this date in any of the past ten years and continuing downward into uncharted territory.

Observation Well 295 – Berwick Road area, Qualicum Beach

Daily levels at the Berwick observation well (295) are low, but currently above the 10-year low point.

All in all, a graphic reminder to us that we need to conserve water, especially as precipitation amounts and temperatures continue their chaotic unseasonable swings.

Do your part. If possible, always shower with a friend. — GS

Restaurant surprises patron who fell on their premises

Cuckoo Italian Trattoria, Coombs, BC.

A Qualicum Beach couple was surprised and delighted by the owners of Cuckoo Italian Trattoria in Coombs. After enjoying lunch at the restaurant several weeks ago, the wife tripped on their way out. She landed on her face, only slightly injured but damaging her glasses.

Upon learning that it would cost over a thousand dollars for a new pair of glasses, the couple contacted the restaurant to inquire if there was any assistance they could provide. A couple of days later, a cheque to cover the full amount was hand delivered to the couple’s home. Now that’s the way to build customer relationships! — LS

Complaints about RCMP harassment of local residents

A recently widowed senior who had been the subject of a SLAPP lawsuit by local developer Todsen Construction Ltd. received a call from the RCMP last week. The Todsens withdrew their defamation suit against Deborah McKinley after the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed their defamation lawsuit against the Qualicum Nature Preservation Society and its president Ezra Morse in August 2022. To her surprise, McKinley said the RCMP officer told her he was following up on a complaint that she had defamed a person on Facebook. The complainant was Steve Knutson, the son-in-law of Rick and Linda Todsen, the owners of Todsen Construction. McKinley provided the officer with the content of the Facebook post, pointing out that she had not named anyone in her comments. McKinley says she was given the number of the RCMP complaint file but doesn’t expect anything further to come of this. It is unusual, not to say irregular, that the RCMP is acting on complaints that are more properly civil matters that should be dealt with by the courts.

Several weeks ago, the RCMP stopped local resident Trevor Wicks while he was out for a drive, claiming someone had reported him missing. The same day, reports a neighbour of Wicks, the RCMP and Wicks’ daughter Sharon Tomcyzk had appeared at the home of Trevor and his wife Eileen Wicks. The RCMP came to the neighbour’s door saying that they were looking for Mr. Wicks, that his vehicle was missing and he appeared to be missing. The neighbour said that he probably just went out for a ride, something she said he often does. The Wicks daughter is currently involved, along with Island Health, in a court action against her parents about which we cannot report because of a publication ban, as explained in previously published stories. Mr. Wicks is concerned that he now has a “police file.” — LS

Cats rule! At the farmers’ market, at the waterfront, and at No. 10 Downing Street

Larry the cat

On the world stage, for those who don’t follow Twitter, Larry the Cat at No. 10 Downing Street, London has a Twitter account, @Number10cat.

Larry normally posts pithy comments about life in the glare of the television cameras recording the revolving door at the home of Britain’s prime ministers.

Here, he shows us how cats rule… attitude and perseverance conquers! — LS