Chief Blais and I are here today to provide an update on the investigation involving Rehtaeh Parsons. We committed to the community and media that when our investigation was completed we would provide an update.
Earlier today we announced arrests of two males in relation to the ongoing investigation involving Rehtaeh Parsons.
This afternoon, I can tell you investigators have charged both of these men.
An 18 year old male from HRM is facing two counts of Distribution of Child pornography.
A second 18 year old male from HRM is charged with Making Child Pornography and Distributing Child Pornography .
Both have been released on a promise to appear in Halifax Youth Courton August 15th.
As we moved to make these arrests this morning, our thoughts were first and foremost with Rehtaeh’s parents. They were informed prior to anything being released publicly. We committed to keep them updated through the investigation and we have done so each week.
While I cannot speak for them, I can tell you that we hope that today’s arrests help the entire community to heal.
A young girl has died in what was a tragic set of circumstances. We all need to reflect on how we as a community can come together in Rehtaeh’s memory and see what we can do to work together to support our youth
I recognize many will ask why have you laid the charges now? Why not before?
Police reopened the investigation in April when new and credible information came to our attention. The new information prompted investigators to reopen the investigation and examine the totality of the evidence. From that, further consultation with the Crown occurred and resulted in charges being laid today.
We understand there will be much interest and speculation about the accused. Their names are not being released as they were youths at the time of the incident.
While people may feel they know the identity of the two accused, anyone who releases their names or other information that could identify them would be a breach under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and that person could face charges. Similarly, we will not tolerate vigilante actions against the accused.
With the investigation now completed and a pending review by the Department of Justice, we are hopeful this will help answer the questions that many have posed about what occurred and the police investigation.
It’s only natural that we would ask ourselves what we could do differently to avoid another tragedy. And it’s on all of us to ask that question and improve our service to the community. We need a whole of community approach to support our youth.