OTTAWA – Representatives for Peter MacKay asked Ottawa police to reopen an investigation into threats made against his family during last year’s Tory leadership race after a man who was questioned in connection with them was charged with three homicides last week in the Caribbean.

Rakesh David, 25, was arrested in Trinidad and Tobago on September 24 in connection with the murders of his grandmother, mother and younger brother.

The news stunned those in Conservative party circles, where David was a well-known activist set to take on a volunteer role on Parliament Hill in the coming weeks.

David was an active supporter of MacKay’s 2020 bid to become leader of the Conservatives, turning his participation in an online support group into a voluntary role that included providing policy ideas on disabilities and other issues.

As the race for leadership came to an end in August 2020, MacKay reported that he and his family were receiving death threats on social media and via email.

The threats included photos of the family with targets drawn on their faces, photos of Elections Canada records of their addresses, and promises that if MacKay won the leadership race, someone would show up with specifically described weapons as soon as they were seen on the scene. family in public.

David was among those working on the MacKay campaign and they were also identified with the threats.

MacKay declined to comment when contacted by the Star on Friday.

But sources who worked on his leadership campaign said they became suspicious of David for various reasons.

The Star was shown emails sent by David that included unusual phrases and capitalization, which was very similar to the wording used in the threats.

Campaign sources also linked an account that mimicked the email from which the threats were sent with another message, which they said David provided and claimed had been sent to him by the Liberal Party.

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The MacKay campaign referred its suspicions to the Ottawa police, who launched an investigation, according to correspondence consulted by the Star.

A police officer also went to David’s home, but at the time he was in Trinidad and Tobago, where he had lived on and off for several years.

No charges were ever filed in connection with the case.

In a written statement, Ottawa police said Friday that the service “does not identify whistleblowers / victims of crime; We neither confirm nor deny investigations into a particular person, unless a charge is filed. “

A source close to the MacKay campaign said they contacted Ottawa police this week to ask if David was in fact the person behind the threats.

“These were treated as very real and very serious threats,” said the source, who spoke confidentially as the MacKay family had not authorized them to speak publicly on the matter.

“We hope this incident will revive the investigation so that the family can close it.”

During the Ottawa police investigation, David hired an attorney, who declined to comment on Friday when contacted by the Star.

However, David himself wrote to the MacKay campaign in March 2021, saying he was aware that he was the subject of the investigation and denying any involvement.

David wrote that while he knew the threats could come from his “geographic location,” he had been in Trinidad and Tobago during that period, had been the victim of security breaches on his computer, cell phone, and social media accounts during that period. . period and had informed the police.

David accused the police of ignoring the evidence that would have exonerated him and called the entire investigation an “unnecessarily stressful and malicious situation that I do not deserve.”

“My only hope is that they understand the situation in which they put me and that they understand that there was no way he could have sent us those threats and hateful messages, and I was also a victim,” he wrote in the email, which was seen by the star.

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“If you don’t believe me, all I can do is apologize for not being a good enough person for you to trust me. I too would like to know who was responsible for this, but there is a lot I can do, and it seems like the police really don’t care. “

MacKay’s campaign says it spent more than $ 100,000 on private security following the threats, which ceased before the end of the leadership race.

David was arrested in Trinidad and Tobago on September 24 after three members of his family were found dead. All had suffered gunshot wounds to the head.

The Trinidad and Tobago media reported the names of the victims as Kumari Kowlessar-Timal, 77, Radeshka Timal, 48, and Zachary David, 22, all of them Canadian citizens.

In a statement, Global Affairs Canada said it is aware of the killings and is in contact with local authorities. He said he is also providing consular service to “a Canadian citizen” detained in connection with the incident, but cited privacy concerns by refusing to provide further information.

David’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 29, according to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

The Star was unable to reach David or his legal counsel.


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