September 24, 2014 - 3:37 PM
KAMLOOPS – It is up to a Kamloops Supreme Court Justice to determine if a crime was committed in the early morning hours of August 18, 2010 now that submissions from both lawyers have concluded in the trial of an RCMP watch commander.
Kenneth Peter Rick Brown was charged with breach of trust after he, fellow officers and city staff members watched live security footage of two female drunk-tank prisoners engaging in several sex acts and did not separate them.
Crown Prosecutor Winston Sayson told the court it is the Crown’s position Brown wanted to watch the tape as it amused him and invited others to come watch as a source of entertainment. It’s the Crown’s theory Brown did not separate the women because he did not want to interrupt the viewing of the video.
“He became distracted, he became captivated, it caught his attention and he thought ‘this is worthy of sharing,’” Sayson said. He said the time Brown spent getting other officers to come view the tape could have been used to break the women up.
One of the pieces of evidence the Crown had to suggest Brown was inviting others to watch the tape was a call between watch clerk Rick Beveridge and prison guard David Tompkins. In the call, Tompkins is heard saying “you gotta see this... Brownie says you’ve gotta see this.” Before hearing final submissions, Justice Selwyn Romilly excluded the call as a piece of evidence and cited previous cases which suggest the call could be a charter violation.
The second phone call used as evidence was between Cpl. Kelly Butler and Brown. It generated different arguments for the Crown and defence. Sayson said the call demonstrated Brown’s acknowledgment he watched the video and did nothing. Brown’s lawyer, Glen Orris, said Butler called to determine if the women were separated because one prisoner declared herself as HIV-positive, which both parties believed was the policy.
“That’s not the case,” Orris said. “In fact the policies were that they were to be kept together. Infectious prisoners were not to be separated except in, what I refer to as, dire circumstances.”
Sayson did not fault Brown for watching the tape as monitoring prisoners was part of his protocol.
“The Crown agrees he had to look at (the video),” Sayson said. “The mere watching for the purpose other than the public good makes it an offense.”
Sayson said many of the witnesses called by the Crown gave “self-serving” responses and pointed out several inconsistencies. He told the court the Crown believed Kevin Brumm, one of the prison guard’s working that evening, to have the most solid evidence of excitement between the parties when viewing the footage in the prison guard room.
“If they were so disinterested, why were they in that room?” asked Sayson.
Glen Orris contested the Crown’s evidence saying Brown did not commit a crime by viewing the tape with others. Orris said this evidence was solidified from testimony suggesting Brown wanted to watch the tape to ensure the women were safe. Because all cells were full, Orris said Brown had nowhere to put the two even if they were separated. He told the court there were no RCMP policies suggesting what to do if prisoners had sex. Orris said Brown decided to keep the women safe by watching the footage.
“The Crown has failed to prove any wrong-doing,” Orris said.
Orris said the Crown cannot refute most of the evidence given from several witnesses who referenced the situation in the guardroom as “somber” and “awkward.” He told the court the women had already been notified the guard’s were watching the two cuddle, prompting Brumm to bang on the door to tell them to “knock it off.”
Orris said the matter was not criminal and evidence from the video suggested the sex was consensual. He specifically referenced a video of the women leaving the detachment “arm-in-arm... as if the best of friends.”
Throughout Crown submissions, Romilly made several interruptions to ask Sayson to point out the first female’s level of intoxication, question the use of the intercepted phone calls as evidence and question the charge of breach of trust.
Romilly’s decision is expected October 9.
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