The Whistler RCMP submitted the wrong warrant photograph of a man named Michael Wilson to the media last week, including Pique Newsmagazine.
The photo submitted and published was of a Whistler man, named Michael Wilson, who is not wanted by the RCMP.
The RCMP arrested the wanted Michael Wilson, whose photograph was not published, around the time Pique Newsmagazine went to press last week.
Following the error, the RCMP apologized, and on Feb. 28 sent out a press release outlining their mistake.
“We are obviously very sorry this happened, and the RCMP takes full responsibility for the mistake,” said Staff Sergeant Steve LeClair.
“It was a result of human error, and these things do happen, but it is particularly disturbing in a small community like Whistler where everybody knows each other… We regret the level of inconvenience this has caused Mr. Wilson.”
LeClair added he knows the Wilson whose photo was published personally and has spoken to him since the mistake was made.
Wilson was alarmed last Thursday morning when he woke to find his photo incorrectly published in Pique Newsmagazine and immediately contacted his lawyer, Peter Ritchie, to make sure attention was drawn to the mistake.
Ritchie has since discussed the matter with Whistler RCMP.
“I think that the matter will probably resolve, and my client is not taking any further steps,” Ritchie said on Tuesday afternoon.
“The police have admitted their mistake quite profusely. I think they are quite upset by it.”
Ritchie added that the matter will be resolved if there is fair publication to correct the RCMP’s error so people do not carry any misconceptions for the innocent Wilson.
“My client is an excellent citizen of Whistler and will continue to be so,” said Ritchie.
The photo of the innocent Michael Wilson was published along with three other correct warrant photos as part of an article in Pique Newsmagazine last week headlined, “Drinking and dangerous driving complaints up”.
The release was part of an initiative by the RCMP to distribute photographs to the local media of individuals who are wanted on warrants stemming from criminal offences in Whistler.
LeClair explained that normally a senior communication officer reviews press releases prior to publication to catch mistakes. In some instances mistakes get by.
LeClair could not provide details about the Michael Wilson who was arrested.