Calgary police chief apologizes to two brothers who were wrongly charged in shooting
November 21, 2023 By The Canadian Press
Nov. 21, 2023, Calgary, Alta. – Calgary’s police chief apologized Tuesday to two teenage brothers who were facing charges in a fatal shooting after homicide investigators received new video evidence on the case.
Police had charged a 14-year-old boy with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, while his 18-year-old brother was charged with accessory after the fact.
All of the charges were stayed by the Crown in court on Tuesday morning.
Police Chief Mark Neufeld said later in the day that the brothers were charged based on the information that was available to homicide investigators at the time.
“New evidence has come to light that causes our homicide team to believe that the two brothers were not responsible for the shooting,” he told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
“As soon as the investigators received the contradictory evidence and were sufficiently satisfied with its reliability, they notified the Alberta Crown prosecution service and that led to the charges being stayed in court.”
A spokeswoman for the Crown prosecution service said further investigation led to additional information requiring a reassessment of the prosecution standard.
“The totality of the evidence presently does not support a prosecution,” Michelle Davio said in a statement.
Jim Lutz, a defence lawyer representing the 14-year-old, said in an emailed statement that “the family is grateful to the Crown … for re-evaluating the evidence that led them to be released.”
Both brothers had been in custody since the charges were laid and appeared in court last Thursday.
Neufeld said both he and the investigators are concerned about the latest development in the case.
“These charges will have impacted these two young men and their family in very significant ways and for that I apologize unreservedly,” he said.
Neufeld said officers have reached out to the community to offer support and he’s also willing to meet with the family.
He added that he would also arrange an independent review “to examine the circumstances that led to the arrests and charges.”
The brothers were arrested and charged the day after a Nov. 13 shooting in the parking lot of a Calgary mall. Police found 23-year-old Rami Hajj Ali dead and two others injured.
Neufeld said investigators are still committed to getting justice for the family of the man who died and the two who were injured.
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