Prince Albert police officer charged with criminal negligence has case adjourned

(Herald file photo)

A Prince Albert police officer charged with criminal negligence causing death and failure to provide the necessities of life has had his case adjourned until Oct. 10.

Sgt. Tyson Morash, a 21-year member of the Prince Albert Police Service, did not appear in Prince Albert Provincial Court on Tuesday afternoon. Instead, his lawyer, Darren Kraushaar, appeared on his behalf by phone.

Kraushaar told the court there was “a sizeable amount” of relevant information disclosed by the Crown, and they were still in process of reviewing it. Depending on how that review went, Kraushaar said, they may have further disclosure requests.

Crown prosecutor Chris Browne also appeared by phone. Browne did not oppose the request for an adjournment.

Morash was charged following a Saskatoon Police Service investigation into the death of 33-year-old Saul Laliberte. Laliberte was arrested without incident just before 3 p.m. on Nov. 7 on outstanding warrants. He was transported to the PAPS detention area to await his court appearance, but was found unresponsive in his cell at around 7:30 p.m.

Laliberte received on-site emergency care from paramedics, and was transported to Victoria Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. His death was the service’s third in-custody death in less than a month.

Previously, a 35-year-old man was found unresponsive in a police detention cell on Oct. 11, 2021. Then on Oct. 12, 2021, a 29-year-old was pronounced dead days after going into medical distress while briefly in police custody at Victoria Hospital.

The three deaths led the Prince Albert Grand Council to call for a thorough and unbiased review of the police service’s procedures, standards, and practices. The provincial government commissioned a review by former Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht in November 22.

On July 18, the province released 45 recommendations included in Knecht’s report, but did not release the report itself.