RCMP apologize to Métis man for withholding evidence in wrongful conviction

Apology part of recent settlement in civil lawsuit.

Clayton Boucher. APTN photo.


The RCMP have apologized to Clayton Boucher, a Métis man who was locked up in an Edmonton jail for several months, and later wrongly convicted, despite the Mounties having evidence that would have cleared him of drug charges soon after his arrest.

Boucher sued the RCMP for its part in his 2017 wrongful conviction and always said it wasn’t about the money.

He wanted an apology.

And not just to him.

But also for Phyllis Favel, his late common-law wife, who died in a car collision while Boucher was locked up.

Only Boucher shouldn’t have been locked up when she died.

The RCMP had evidence to clear his name weeks beforehand, so when Favel died, Boucher thinks he would have been driving the car and she would be alive today.

“This should of never ended like this,” said Boucher. “I am paying dearly even to this day because I loved her and that love was taken away in a blink of an eye.”

The apology was always really for Favel and Boucher got it two weeks ago when he reached a settlement with the RCMP, the attorney general of Canada and the Crown prosecutor, Erwin Schulz.

The financial settlement is undisclosed but the apology was filed in court.

Boucher shared it with APTN News.

“The RCMP apologizes for the manner in which the exhibit report was handled and acknowledges the test results came back negative,” wrote Supt. Mike Good, a human resources officer from K division.

“The RCMP wishes the handling of the exhibit report was done more professionally and acknowledges that several members have been held accountable under internal processes.”

In the end, the RCMP spelled her name Phyllis “Flavel”.

“Right from day one all I wanted was an apology and they couldn’t even spell her name right,” said Boucher, breaking down on the phone recently, unable to speak for a moment, from his apartment in Edmonton.

After three years of fighting, and faced with years before the possibility of a trial, add in the fact he has a serious medical condition, Boucher agreed to settle.

“This took a toll on me. I had to fight to end,” he said.

Clayton Boucher with Phyllis Favel before her death. Submitted photo.

Boucher had been suing for more than $1 million alleging the RCMP repeatedly harassed him in Lac La Biche, Alta., wrongly accused him of a being a drug trafficker in January 2017 and then withheld key evidence for months that he needed to exonerate himself while locked up in an Edmonton jail.

When the RCMP raided a home Boucher and Favel were staying at Jan. 22, 2017 they seized over a hundred grams of white powder. They assumed it was cocaine.

It was baking soda and Boucher was adamant the entire time he was locked up, however the RCMP claimed the test results went unnoticed for a couple months.

Related: TUNNEL VISION: The sad, wrongful conviction of Clayton Boucher

The RCMP then claimed it told the Crown prosecutor on the case the drugs came back negative who not only didn’t drop the charges, but let Boucher plead guilty to crimes he knew Boucher didn’t commit according to the lawsuit filed in April 2018 by lawyer John Phillips, of Waddell Phillips Law, who began representing Boucher after APTN first reported this story in October 2017.

Boucher got time severed and was released in late May 2017.

He immediately set out to clear his name and later that summer the conviction was overturned.

But he didn’t stop there.

He wanted the apology.

“I did what I had to do. All I wanted was that apology,” said Boucher. “I know that’s huge because the RCMP doesn’t like to admit wrong.”

But he has to live with more than never seeing Favel again, or that her name was misspelled by the RCMP, he also has a memory of Favel’s funeral he can’t shake.

“The RCMP regrets that you were in jail at the time of her death and that you were required to attend her funeral while in shackles,” wrote Good in the apology.

He was also forced to wear a jail-issued orange jumpsuit.

Producer Nation to Nation / Ottawa

Kenneth is a journalist with nearly two decades of reporting experience who focuses on crime and social issues, including child welfare and wrongful convictions. He has worked out of APTN’s Ottawa bureau since October 2012.