Constable Justin Hewlett with the Baie Verte RCMP says despite recent comments by NAPE Union President Carol Furlong, it’s still business as usual in the investigation into missing money at Baie Verte Hospital.
After the Nor’wester broke the story last week that police plan to use polygraph tests as the next stage of the investigation of the missing life savings of Edward Seymour. The union for the employees at the hospital cried foul.
Furlong could not be reached by The Nor’wester for comment but she told other media that they advised their union employees to not cooperate with the RCMP, and to refuse to participate in the polygraph test.
Furlong said that she made the call based on the advise of the union’s legal counsel.
Furlong went on to criticize the polygraph process saying it didn’t serve a “legitimate purpose” and “would basically put (employees) in a position that they’re very uncomfortable with, having done nothing wrong.”
Cst. Hewlett says he knows first-hand what it’s like having a polygraph test done, as every RCMP officer to enter the force since 2005 has participated in one.
“I understand that it can make some people uncomfortable, but there’s really nothing for anyone to worry about, if they have nothing to hide,” he told the Nor’wester on Tuesday.
He went on to explain that often people’s hesitation with the polygraph test are that it will reveal other things about them, perhaps outside the investigation. However, he says, that isn’t the case at all.
“We stick strictly to the issue at hand, in this case the missing money from the hospital,” he said. “People worry that we might ask about something from their past or that something they don’t want people to know will come out, not relating to this incident, but that’s not why we’re doing this.”
Hewlett maintains that while it’s true the results of the polygraph are not admissible in court, it is a vital tool in helping them in an investigation of this nature.
“The sheer size of this investigation is daunting – we’ve made excellent in-roads thus far, and things have progressed smoothly. It would be a shame for this to come to a road block here because of this,” he said, referring to NAPE’s position on the matter.
Hewlett says he understands where the union president is coming from.
“I understand that’s her job, and she has to speak out for the employees,” he said. “But we have a job to do as well, and our job is to do what we can to solve this case, and find out who took that man’s money. We can’t do that unless people cooperate with us.”
Hewlett says all police are trying to do is restore what’s been lost – both in the physical sense, and in the emotional sense as well.
“This incident has rocked the trust between the public and the health care system,” he said. “It’s our job to restore that trust; we do that by solving cases like this.”
Hewlett says people need to feel safe when they’re put in situations similar to Edward Seymour’s situation.
“People need to know that if they go into a hospital for a stay, their possessions are safe,” he said. “We want to show them that, and that’s why we’re working so hard on this investigation.”
Leo Seymour is the brother of the late Edward Seymour. He said his family is still pained that their brother was a helpless victim to what, he calls, a senseless crime.
“It’s shocking,” he said. “I mean a man there, on his death bed, breathing his last breaths and for someone to go and steal the last few dollars he had left, my goodness, it’s shameful is what it is – just shameful.”
Seymour says he’s happy with the progress the RCMP has been making on the investigation, but understands to a degree why Furlong spoke out on behalf of her union employees.
“I guess I can see why she came out and said what she said, but the police have done a fine job so far, and I’d hate to see something get in the way now of them finally catching the person who did this,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, if I didn’t have anything to hide, I wouldn’t have any problem doing a lie detector test.”
Seymour says the family’s hope is that the case is solved as soon as possible, so they can move on from the incident that’s plagued them for the past year.
As for Hewlett, he said RCMP will continue on, despite the recent uproar caused over the case.
“We’re going on with the investigation,” he said. “So far four people have come forward and consented to the test. We haven’t approached any more, but that’s been a matter of scheduling.”
Hewlett says there’s only one polygrapher in the province, and they have to work around his schedule. However, whenever he becomes available, they’re proceed with seeking out people to take part.
“We’ll keep asking people. If they agree to do it, then great, that would help us a lot. If they refuse, then we’ll just say ‘ok’ and move on to the next person.”