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Family furious as court date delayed for charged RCMP officers

Arraignment hearings for four Prince George Mounties charged in the death of Dale Culver have been postponed to May 2.
Virginia Pierre and Lillooet (Lily) Speed-Namox, an aunt and daughter respectively of Dale Culver, at a media event on Monday, March 13.

The family of a man who died in police custody expressed frustration Monday after learning court appearances for five Prince George RCMP officers facing charges from the incident have been delayed by almost two months.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday at the Prince George courthouse, arraignment hearings are now scheduled for May 2. 

Cst. Paul Ste-Marie and Cst. Jean Francois Monette each face a count of manslaughter and Cst. Arthur Dalman, Cst. Clarence (Alex) Alexander MacDonald, and Sgt. Bayani (Jon) Eusebio Cruz have been charged with attempting to obstruct justice in relation to the July 18, 2017 death of Dale Culver.

Debbie Pierre, a cousin of Culver's, said the family only learned of the postponement on Saturday when a court worker contacted them. Other than to say it was in response an application, no further reason was given.

"It was quite shocking because I didn't see the notification until we were here last night," Pierre said during a press conference Monday at the House of Ancestors

A spokesperson for the B.C. Prosecution Service declined to provide details on why the hearings were postponed.

"As the matters are before the court, the BCPS will not be commenting further on the reasons for the adjournment," Dan McLaughlin said.

The family and supporters still plan to hold a rally at the Prince George courthouse on Tuesday.

Family members noted the time the matter has taken. The said it took RCMP three days to notify them of Culver's death, three years for the Independent Investigations Office to forward its findings to the B.C. Prosecution Service and a further 2 1/2 years for charges to be approved.

"There's something wrong here," Culver's mother Virginia Pierre said. 

Culver died during a struggle with RCMP outside a liquor store near the corner of Central Street and 10th Avenue.