Canadian News Oct 9, 2021 5:51 PM EST

Peter MacKay asks RCMP to reopen investigation into threats against family, Rakesh David a suspect

Peter MacKay has asked Ottawa RCMP to reopen their investigation into threats made against his family during last year's Conservative leadership race.

Peter MacKay asks RCMP to reopen investigation into threats against family, Rakesh David a suspect
Adam Dobrer Vancouver

Peter MacKay has asked Ottawa RCMP to reopen their investigation into threats made against his family during last year's Conservative leadership race. The request comes after Rakesh David, who was questioned about the threats, was also charged on three counts of murder last week in Trinidad and Tobago. David, 25, was arrested in Trinidad and Tobago on September 24, accused of murdering his grandmother, mother and younger brother.

Formerly an avid and active supporter of MacKay's 2020 leadership bid, David volunteered for the campaign, providing policy ideas on disabilities and other issues. MacKay reported he and his family received death threats via email and social media in August of 2020. The threats included photos of the MacKay family with targets drawn on their faces, photos of Elections Canada records with their home addresses, and a promise that a MacKay leadership bid victory would result in someone showing up at their house.

At the time of writing, MacKay declined to comment. However, sources who worked on his leadership campaign told the Toronto Star they began to suspect David for several reasons: similarities in unusual phrasings and capitalization in emails he sent and the wording of the said threats. Campaign sources also referenced an email-mimicking account. David allegedly sent threats to himself, providing them to the campaign and claiming he received them from the Liberal Party of Canada.

During the investigation by Ottawa police, David retained a lawyer, who declined to comment Friday when reached by the Star. However, he wrote to the MacKay campaign in March 2021, stating he became "aware" he was the subject of the investigation and denied any involvement. David added that while threats originated from his "geographic location," he had been a victim of "security breaches" to his computer, cellphone, and social media accounts and had informed the police.

David accused the authorities of 'ignoring evidence' and called the investigation an "unnecessarily stressful and malicious situation that I did not deserve." He continued: My only hope is that you understand the situation I was placed in, and understand that there was no way I could have sent those hateful threats and messages to us," wrote David in an email statement. "I was a victim too."

"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 only so much I can do, and the police seem not to really care," he writes.

The MacKay campaign said it spent upwards of $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 21 after three family members were found dead with gunshot wounds to the head. Trinidad and Tobago media reported the names of the victims as Kumari Kowlessar-Timal, 77, Radeshka Timal, 48, and Zachary David, 22, all of whom were Canadian citizens.

Along with three counts of murder, David is charged with several gun offences. He allegedly brought the gun with him from Canada, causing alarm in the local community over how he got it on a plane and out of the airport. "The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is currently liaising with Canadian officials to verify if the gun in question is registered in Canada," a police spokesman said.

David had his first court appearance in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago's capital, on October 1 and is in jail until his next appearance, scheduled for October 29.

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