Restorative justice to settle Parks matter

PORT HAWKESBURY: A former RCMP officer charged in relation to a standoff will receive restorative justice.

  Byron Arthur “Brad” Parks was expected to face charges of unauthorized possession of a firearm and uttering threats during an appearance in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court on June 26. Parks did not appear and the case was referred to restorative justice.

  Port Hawkesbury Crown Thomas Kayter described restorative justice as an alternative to a criminal prosecution.

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  “We assess a number of factors [such as] public interest in the prosecution, strength of a case, willingness of victims, [and] importantly in Byron’s case, the willingness of some of the victims who themselves were RCMP members, to decide whether or not a criminal prosecution is most appropriate or whether a more restorative holistic approach is better suited for it,” Kayter said. “We decided Mr. Parks’ matter is best suited for restorative justice.”

  Kayter said if restorative justice referrals conclude successfully, the charges are usually withdrawn by the crown in most cases.

  “If it proves unsuccessful, our restorative justice partners, Department of Corrections, the probation office…then we would still prosecute Mr. Parks,” said Kayter. “The idea is to make people safer members of society.”

  Parks is expected to return to Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court on July 31 for a status update on the restorative justice outcome.

  Parks was charged in relation to an incident on March 7, when police responded to a call of a man with a firearm inside a residence on Tamarac Drive. On March 17, police officially charged Parks with unauthorized possession of a firearm and uttering threats.