Statement from HRP: On April 8, HRP received a complaint in relation to an alleged domestic assault by one of our officers. This matter was immediately referred to the Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT). SiRT investigated the file and today laid two assault charges against Constable Jason Murray, who has been with HRP for 6 years. Constable Murray has been placed on administrative duties.
Every time an officer is charged criminally, it’s a concern to us. We recognize and accept the expectation that police officers be beyond reproach, so it’s disconcerting for our organization, employees and community when an officer is alleged to have broken the laws they are sworn to uphold. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that an officer charged criminally, like any other person, is innocent until proven guilty.
A corresponding Police Act investigation was commenced at the outset of this matter and, as per normal procedure, suspended pending the completion of the criminal proceedings. The Police Act investigation will resume following the matter which is now before the courts.
Below is the media release issued by SiRT today about this matter:
SiRT— Domestic Assault Charges laid against HRP officer
The province's independent Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) today laid two charges of assault against Cst. Jason Richard Murray, a 43-year-old member of the Halifax Regional Police (HRP).
On April 8, HRP contacted SiRT about information they received from a member of the public that suggested a possible domestic assault against a female by an HRP officer. SiRT opened an investigation into the matter the next day, and conducted several interviews over the next few weeks.
As a result of the investigation two charges of assault against Cst. Murray were laid today in Dartmouth Provincial Court. One relates to an incident alleged to have occurred in October or November of 2013, and the second involves an incident alleged to have occurred between April and July of 2014. The complainant in both charges is a 44-year-old woman.
Cst. Murray voluntarily met with SiRT investigators yesterday, April 30, and was formally arrested on the charges. He was released on a promise to appear and an undertaking given to an officer in charge, which contains several conditions, including a requirement he does not have any contact with the complainant or witnesses, does not possess a firearm, and abstains from the consumption of alcohol. He is due to appear in Provincial Court in Dartmouth on May 20, 2015, at 9:30 a.m.
The Serious Incident Response Team is responsible for investigating all serious incidents involving police in Nova Scotia, which includes all allegations of domestic violence. All investigations are under the direction and control of independent civilian director Ron MacDonald.
The team can independently begin an investigation after a referral from a chief of police, the head of the RCMP in Nova Scotia or the Minister of Justice. It can also investigate after a complaint from the public.
The Police Act requires the director to file a public report summarizing the result of the investigation within three months after it is finished.