October 09, 2014 - 2:42 PM
KAMLOOPS – Charges against a Kamloops RCMP officer were dismissed Thursday morning after a Kamloops Supreme Court Justice determined his conduct during an incident at the detachment four years ago did not constitute a breach of trust.
Justice Selwyn Romilly said the matter should have been dealt with in “an RCMP internal investigation, and not in the criminal courts” before acquitting Cpl. Kenneth Peter Rick Brown. Brown's lawyer, Glen Orris, said outside court Brown did nothing wrong.
“Ever since I had this file I strongly believed that there wasn't an offense here," Orris said. "I was quite confident in looking at it that the evidence would demonstrate that."
Brown and three others working the early morning shift of August 18, 2010 were charged with breach of trust after watching two female drunk-tank prisoners engage in various sex acts via security footage and didn't intervene. Charges were later dropped against Constables Evan Elgee and Stephen Zaharia. In 2013 David Tompkins, a jail-guard employed with the City, pleaded guilty and received a one-year conditional sentence.
Romilly said Brown didn't have many options to intervene.
“The accused made the decision that the two women must be monitored to ensure neither was causing harm to the other.... At the time there were 17 prisoners in the 14 cells that were available at the police detachment,” Romilly said. “Therefore, finding a suitable cell to which one of these prisoners could be transferred would have entailed a review of all the (prisoner files) to see if there was a cell to which one of these females could be transferred which would have taken longer than the seven to ten-minute sexual interaction between the two women.”
After hearing the decision, both Brown and his wife shared a hug and began to cry.
“If you’re charged with a criminal offense – any criminal offense – it’s a devastating experience," Orris said. "It’s something you can’t help but wake up every morning and think about, think about through the day and have nightmares at night.... (Brown) believed he didn’t do anything wrong but all of a sudden people are saying he did, things are getting emphasized and people are looking at you in weird ways because of what they see in the media which is not always correct.”
It's unknown at this time if and when Brown will return to work for the RCMP. Supt. Brad Mueller said now that the matter is out of court, the RCMP internal investigation will continue.
"We’ll make a determination if further administrative sanctions are warranted," Mueller said. "Those decisions will rest with the commanding officer of the province."
The sanctions could include anything from a written reprimand to dismissal.
Elgee and Zaharia are back working regular duty in different locations. Tompkins still works for the city but in a different department. One of the two women, whose identities are protected by court order, has died since the incident.
In his defence, Orris said the RCMP had no clear policy at the time to deal with prisoners having sex in cells and even if there were, the detachment had no empty cells to move the women to. He also pointed to a lack of watch commander training for Brown and no female officers available to assist.
The case made it to court after an internal investigation from the RCMP. After hearing of the incident and the detail that one of the females was self-declared HIV positive, Cpl. Kelly Butler sent an email to Brown and her superiors inquiring if the other female was warned of potential exposure. That email spurred the investigation.
The Crown is currently reviewing the decision and has 30 days to file an appeal.
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-This story was originally published at 10:10 a.m. It was updated at 2:38 p.m. to include information from the judge's decision. It was updated again at 3:21 p.m. to include information from Supt. Mueller.
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