Rumours he had ordered ‘an assassination’ followed Dunphy shooting, says former premier – Newfoundland & Labrador

Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Paul Davis says it was a mistake to call the police officer who fatally shot Don Dunphy to offer comfort hours after the incident happened.

Testifying at the judicial inquiry into the fatal shooting of injured worker Don Dunphy, Davis — himself a former cop — addressed swirling and sometimes bizarre conspiracy theories that quickly developed online, alleging that Davis had effectively dispatched someone to take care of a supposed opponent. 

“Very quickly there were rumours that I had ordered an assassination and that was a concern,” Davis told Justice Leo Barry Friday at an inquiry into how Joe Smyth, a police constable who was assigned to Davis’s security detail, shot Dunphy in his Mitchells Brook home in April 2015. 

Smyth earlier testified that he resented seeing himself depicted as a “hitman” in social media posts that doubted his explanation that he fired his weapon in self-defence. 

Meanwhile, Davis acknowledged he erred by getting in touch with Smyth in the aftermath of the fatal shooting. 

‘Very quickly there were rumours that I had ordered an assassination and that was a concern.’ 
– Paul Davis

“I tend to agree with Smyth that I probably should not have called him. It was still under investigation.”

Davis said that he and Smyth didn’t talk about the details of the shooting.

He testified on Friday that he knew at the time that Dunphy, 59, was alleged to have pulled a gun on Smyth, but he doesn’t recall how he knew that.

Smyth, a Royal Newfoundland Constabulary officer, had gone to Dunphy’s home in St. Mary’s Bay to investigate tweets Dunphy had made about politicians.

Smyth has said that he shot Dunphy four times after Dunphy pointed a 22-calibre rifle at him. The RCMP investigated the shooting and concluded that Smyth used appropriate force and no charges were laid.

Rumours of assassination order

Davis, who served on the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary before…

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