POLITICS

Reported email leak upsets family of Newfoundland man killed by police: lawyer

04/11/2015 05:42 EDT | Updated 06/14/2015 05:59 EDT
The family of a Newfoundland man fatally shot by police is upset after an email reportedly sent by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer involved in the case was leaked to the media, the family's lawyer says.

Media outlets in Newfoundland have published an email they say was written by the officer who shot Don Dunphy, 59, in his home last Sunday while investigating perceived threats made against provincial politicians on Twitter.

The email, which appears on the CBC and VOCM websites without the officer's name, was reportedly sent to all employees of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary on Friday. The police force could not be immediately reached to comment on the email and its authenticity could not be confirmed.

The email describes Dunphy's death as a tragedy but the writer says he cannot regret his actions.

Erin Breen, lawyer for the Dunphy family, says it is frustrating for the family to see the email reported by local media when they have such little information about the incident themselves.

"The day that this email was leaked was the same day as Mr. Dunphy's funeral. So I can tell you that for his daughter (it was) probably one of the most difficult days of her life and then to have to read the leaked email in the media was really upsetting for her," said Breen.

Breen says the family's focus is on the integrity of the investigation into Dunphy's death.

The RCMP is leading a probe into the incident along with the oversight of retired provincial Supreme Court judge David Riche.

"Any time a person is under investigation, any statement they make is potentially evidence. So what you have is potentially a piece of evidence, because it does refer to the incident, being thrown out there in the public domain at a time when this investigation has just commenced," said Breen.

"That flies in the face of everything that we believe should be happening right now."

Breen says for the family, the more important question is what exactly happened when an officer came to Don Dunphy's home on Easter Sunday.

"The family is looking for answers as to how they lost their loved one," she said.