A Crown official who backed the decision not to charge two police officers for their role in the freezing death of a homeless man said it was no easy task to come to that decision.

Gregory Fitch, director of legal services with the Criminal Justice Branch, testified at the Davies Commission yesterday as the inquiry into the death of Frank Paul resumed in Vancouver.

Fitch said that in cases like these in British Columbia, charges are only considered if there’s a “substantial likelihood” of conviction and if it’s in the public interest to press charges.

“I found the case extraordinarily difficult to resolve and vacillated back and forth,” said Fitch, adding that ultimately, he agreed with the decision not to charge the officers.

William Davies, who is heading the inquiry, reiterated the need for a civilian-based body to investigate police-involved deaths and assaults.

“Our system failed Frank Paul,” Davies said.

“This inquiry was launched to determine what lessons can be learned and what changes can be made.”

A final report is expected by May 2011.

with files from the canadian press