Judge 'dismayed' after learning of media lockout at La Loche shooter appearance

By battlefordNOW Staff
February 25, 2018 - 9:04am Updated: February 25, 2018 - 10:12am

A lot of questions arose after the media were locked out of the courthouse for the La Loche school shooter’s sentencing hearing, but the judge presiding said she had no idea they weren’t being allowed in until after issuing a decision.

According to a statement from a courts communications officer, the judge did not order the doors to the courtroom be locked or to prevent media from attending.

“In fact, the Judge was unaware either had occurred until the decision was complete, and was extremely dismayed to learn that this was so,” the release stated.

According to the email, "it is the judge's understanding these decisions were made by deputy sheriffs and the RCMP."

The RCMP have denied locking any doors at the courthouse and said it took its security responsibility "seriously."

MeadowlakeNOW reporter Kathy Gallant was one of the reporters in La Loche, only to be denied entry. As a result, CJNS announcer Matt Ryan was asked to make his way to the Meadow Lake courthouse, which was showing the sentencing via CCTV. Before a CBC reporter was eventually let in as a pool reporter nearly one hour into the judge's remarks, Ryan was the only eye into events happening inside the La Loche courtroom.

The judge decided to sentence the shooter, who plead guilty in October 2016 in Meadow Lake provincial court to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder, as an adult.

Four people were killed and seven others were injured in the shooting, which started at home and carried over to the local high school in January 2016.

The shooter cannot be named due to a publication ban. 

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