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Vernon Mountie loses negligence claim in false accusations of drinking at murder scene

The officer alleges he suffered after being falsely accused of throwing a bottle at a crime scene

The case of an RCMP officer arguing that he was unfairly investigated after trying to provide comfort to a woman that was dying has been denied.

On Halloween night in 2011, Taylor Van Diest was murdered in Armstrong B.C. Milan Ilic was the first officer on the scene and placed his patrol jacket on the young woman as she clung to life.

Before removing his jacket, Ilic emptied his pockets and threw a pack of pens into the nearby ditch. Ilic did not mention the pens in his police occurrence report.

One of Van Diest’s friends, Zoe Unruh, was at the scene when Ilic arrived. Early in the morning on Nov. 1, shortly after Van Diest died, Unruh provided a police statement saying that that she saw a police officer throw a bottle at the crime scene.

The next day, a vodka bottle was found in a bush near where Ilic and Van Diest were located.

During the murder trial, which began in March 2011, Ilic denied ever throwing a bottle or drinking on the night of the murder and testified that he had thrown a box of pens.

In April 2014, the RCMP opened a Code of Conduct investigation into Ilic’s actions, under allegations that he had provided false, misleading or inaccurate evidence in his court testimony and an interview with major crime investigators. The investigation ended in July 2015 when an extension of time was denied.

Ilic alleges that he developed PTSD and major depressive illness as a result of what he claims was a “negligent” investigation. He received a medical discharge from the RCMP in July of 2019.

In a Supreme court judgement on Feb. 6, 2023, Justice Carla Forth found no basis for the claims of negligence against any of the the officers involved in the investigation.

Justice Forth accepted that Ilic threw a box of pens and was not drinking after reviewing the results of the investigation, though he would not be awarded damages, as she was not convinced that Ilic’s depresssion was a direct result of the accusations.

“He acted with honesty, integrity, compassion, and respect. He did his best to provide comfort to a dying young woman.”

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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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