September 22, 2014 - 6:45 PM
KAMLOOPS – A former jail guard told a Kamloops Supreme Courtroom this morning his workplace was like a zoo and there was nothing he could do about separating two female prisoners having sex because there were no empty cells available.
David Tompkins was one of the RCMP city cell guards working the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2010 when two female prisoners had sex in the drunk-tank.
When the incident occurred, no RCMP officer intervened while members watched the women via closed-circuit security footage. Following an internal RCMP investigation, Tompkins and three other officers were charged with breach of trust. Tompkins pleaded guilty and received a one-year conditional sentence. Charges were dropped against Consts. Evan Elgee and Stephen Zaharia.
Now, four years since the incident, the trial of Cpl. Kenneth Peter Rick Brown, who worked as the shift watch commander, is set to conclude on Wednesday.
After enlarging the image of the two women on the 42-inch-wide security monitor in the guard room, Tompkins said he asked Brown what he was going to do.
“I remember Cpl. Brown looking at it like he was surprised,” Tompkins said.
He told the court Brown sat down near the wall, mumbled to himself and told him “let’s just wait and see what happens.”
Tompkins said when he didn’t get a response from Brown on whether he should separate the women or not, he made a phone call to Richard Beveridge, the shift’s watch clerk.
Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson played a recording of that call.
“You gotta see this,” Tompkins told Beveridge on the recording. “Brownie’s down here – you’ve got to see this.”
Tompkins told the court he wanted Beveridge to come down to determine how to deal with the situation. He said when Beveridge showed up in the guardroom, he asked if the women would be moved.
Tompkins told Sayson the women were not separated because there were no empty cells available; the detachment’s 14 cells were occupied by 17 prisoners. Tompkins said on less busy nights, one of the cells would be left empty in case of a “serious incident” like a murder.
“What about female inmates fisting each other, would you consider that serious?” Sayson asked.
Tompkins said yes.
Since he had already notified the watch commander, Tompkins said he felt the matter was out of his hands.
“I just basically kinda went ‘well what am I supposed to do?’” said Tompkins. “It’s (Brown’s) call.”
Tompkins said he, fellow guard Kevin Brumm, Brown and Beveridge were all in the guardroom watching the monitors when other officers filed in.
“It was a very tense and uncomfortable environment,” said Tompkins. He said the officers noticed the women on the screen and laughed at a couple of jokes made by Brumm and Beveridge.
Tompkins said after the jokes, the officers went back to discussing their files. He said nobody paid much attention to the screen, including himself.
“As far as I was concerned I didn’t want to see what was going on,” Tompkins said.
During cross-examination, Tompkins said the group laughed as a form to relieve tension in the room.
“That does not suggest for a moment that you’re enjoying what you’re seeing,” Orris said.
Tompkins said there were many stressful incidents at the detachment.
“If you can’t laugh at what you see, you’ll be in a straight jacket and you’ll go insane,” Tompkins said.
Tompkins said he did not document the incident in the log book because he was trying to leave early and thought Brumm had logged it. Brumm, in his evidence last week, said the group watched the women on the screen and the room erupted into a short-lived “minute-and-a-half long party” before the crew moved on to a different conversation topic. Brumm said neither Tompkins nor Brown gave him any direction during the incident, which frustrated him.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014