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Trial begins for RCMP officers accused of obstructing justice

First witness won't be called until next Tuesday at the earliest
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A trial began Monday for three Prince George RCMP officers accused of obstructing justice in relation to a nearly seven-year-old arrest turned fatal, but it will be at least another week before any witnesses are called.

Each of Cst. Arthur Dalman, Cst. Clarence (Alex) Alexander MacDonald, and Sgt. Bayani (Jon) Eusebio Cruz face the count in relation to the July 18, 2017 apprehension of Dale Culver.

In part, it has been alleged that as a result of an interaction with one of the officers, a video of arrest taken by a witness was erased. Questions surrounding the notes taken by RCMP at the scene have also been raised by Crown.

Crown and defence counsels spent the morning at the Prince George courthouse making submissions on procedural matters.

The first witness won't be called to the stand until Tues., May 21 at the earliest, Crown prosecution confirmed following a roughly hour-long hearing before a provincial court judge.

One of the larger courtrooms in the building has been booked for the trial.

About 20 RCMP were in the gallery with about a dozen in green emergency response team fatigues occupying the back end of the gallery. About 10 friends and family of Culver were in attendance.

Culver died while in RCMP custody and two other officers had stood accused of manslaughter until it was determined that Culver was under the influence methamphetamine that led to heart failure following a struggle with police.

Prior to the finding, the manslaughter case had relied heavily on another pathologist's conclusion that Culver died from blunt force trauma. The case against the two - Cst. Paul Ste-Marie and Cst. Jean Francois Monette - was dropped April 5.