Halifax police to investigate complaint regarding Hanna investigation

Halifax Regional Police have been called in to investigate a complaint regarding how police in Cape Breton handled the case of a 17-year-old boy who was struck and killed in June while walking home from a grad party.

The case of Joneil Hanna attracted provincewide attention after his parents criticized the police investigation, alleging Cape Breton Regional Police mishandled the case by failing to give the driver a breathalyzer test.

At the time of the fatal collision in Leitches Creek, N.S., Cape Breton police said the 21-year-old driver was “proven not impaired.”

On Aug. 2, Cape Breton police said Hayden Kenneth Laffin of Bras d’Or, N.S., had been charged with attempting to obstruct justice in connection with the collision.

As well, the homeowners in Leitches Creek who hosted the grad party have been charged under the Liquor Control Act with allowing drunkenness on their property.

Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Peter McIsaac has said the complex investigation was complicated by a “wealth of misinformation” circulating in the community.

McIsaac said the misinformation was hurtful to the people involved, and he said it was “extremely frustrating and disappointing” not to be able to counter criticism of police.

At the time, he said his police force couldn’t say much about the case without jeopardizing the investigation.

Cape Breton Regional Police had asked Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team to conduct an investigation into the police handling of the case, but the independent police watchdog said it did not meet the requirements of its mandate.

A spokesman for the Office of the Police Complaints Commission confirmed that the agency received a complaint from the public regarding the Hanna case.

However, Jeff Garber said he couldn’t release further details.

“I don’t want to talk about specifics,” he said. “It is currently under investigation.”

However, he confirmed that police agencies have the option of calling in an outside police force to conduct an investigation based on a complaint under the Police Act.

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