Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, February 06, 2015

Charges Pending....

"I've been authorized to confirm that it was in fact Jean-Claude Savoie who was arrested today.
Quite honestly, I can't say [the arrest] came as a surprise. Certainly for me, the surprise came when the RCMP, quite some time ago, seemed to be recoiling from their official position with me that no charges would be forthcoming."
"After they sort of recanted that position and announced that in fact the investigation was ongoing, then … I can't say that I’m surprised that we're at the point we're at today."
Leslie F. Matchim, lawyer, Campbellton, New Brunswick 

"Now, the investigation has furthered and has brought us to the point where an arrest was made today, so this person is now in police custody, but the investigation is ongoing."
"If at some point charges are laid, then more information will be available to you."
New Brunswick RCMP Cpl. Chantal Farrah

Janine Renaud / Canadian Press
Janine Renaud / Canadian Press    RCMP work at the scene of a fatal Python attack on Monday Aug. 5, 2013 at Reptile Ocean in Campbellton, N.B. Two young boys were believed to have been killed by a python snake as they slept in an apartment above an exotic pet store
The point 'we're at today' appears to be that a man, with the care of children his responsibility, also felt that he could accommodate his attraction to potentially dangerous reptiles without the two resulting in any kind of harm to the children concerned. Jean-Claude Savoie operated an unlicensed zoo which he converted into a pet store. He lived in an apartment above his pet shop, with his son. His son had two close friends who lived right next door.

A year and a half ago, in Campbellton, New Brunswick, two very young boys, aged six and four, Noah Barthe and Connor Barthe, were found dead, while on a sleep-over at the apartment occupied by Jean-Claude Savoie and his young son. An autopsy found that the boys had been asphyxiated. Mr. Savoie explained that he hadn't any idea that something had gone dreadfully wrong during the night-time hours. He simply awoke to discover the lifeless bodies of the two little boys.

Mr. Savoie, the proprietor of Reptile Ocean located on the bottom floor of the two-storey building, had started his business as a reptile zoo, and then transformed it to a retail operation. He had taken possession of an African rock python, which he considered a family pet after the SPCA took possession of it in 2002 in Moncton, and Environment Canada officials had handed it over to Mr. Savoie not knowing where else it could be accommodated. 

The snake was kept in what might have been considered to be a secure enclosure. At 45-kilograms in weight, the snake certainly weighed more than the little boys put together. Somehow, during the night the snake had broken free of its enclosure; travelled through the ventilation system of the building to crash through the ceiling of the room where the young brothers were sleeping. 

Facebook   Noah, left, and Connor Barthe, with their mother Mandy Trecartin. 
The boys' mother, Mandy Trecartin, must have felt confidence in Mr. Savoie to permit her children to sleep over, let alone to feel pride allowing them to help Mr. Savoie from time to time in his pet store, including, it would appear, helping him to clean out Reptile Ocean's large animal enclosures. The tragedy of August 5, 2013, made headlines, shocking the nation that anyone would have a hobby of keeping such large, dangerous animals in a domestic setting. And then other similar stories started popping up.

FACEBOOK /MANDY TRECARTIN     The Barthe brothers cleaning a snake tank in an undated photo posted on their mother's Facebook page.

The RCMP investigated and decided, at that time, not to lay charges against the proprietor of the pet shop. But then, a year later the Office of the Attorney General in New Brunswick busied itself "reviewing the file". And, Mr. Savoie, who had moved in the interim from New Brunswick to Montreal, was arrested by New Brunswick RCMP, in Montreal. 

No more than a week had passed after the death of the two little boys when area locals organized a protest supporting Mr. Savoie and Reptile Ocean. "Don't make Jean-Claude Savoie the bad guy, he never meant for this to happen", read a 2013 post in the Facebook group "Save Reptile Ocean", with its 401-membership clout.

Misjudgements sometimes do have extremely dire consequences.

Should Mr. Savoie be charged with something like "criminal endangerment" of children, why wouldn't their mother be looking at charges of "child neglect"?

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