Shooting victim's family threatens inquiry boycott
Published Wednesday, January 28, 2009 3:38PM EST
Relatives of a Montreal teenager shot to death by police are among those threatening to pull out of a public inquiry into his death unless the government offers legal aid to all non-police witnesses.
The family of Fredy Villanueva said Wednesday that Quebec is quietly trying to stop paying for legal representation for the witnesses.
Lawyers said legal assistance for all the people who witnessed the shooting was promised in December by Quebec's director of prosecutions.
But the justice and public security departments say Quebec never promised to pay for any legal costs except for those of the Villanueva family.
The victim's family and those of the witnesses say they will all pull out of the inquiry unless the government pays everyone's legal costs.
The inquiry begins next month at the Gouin blvd. courthouse.
Shooting sparked riot
Villanueva, 18, was shot and killed by police in Montreal North last August while officers were trying to arrest his older brother.
The shooting sparked riots in which businesses were ransacked and a police officer was shot in the leg.
The two officers involved were eventually cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.
The inquiry will examine the causes and circumstances of what happened and present non-binding recommendations.