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JAIL SEX TRIAL UPDATE: Officers react to what happened in the cell that night

Cpl. Rick Brown arrives at the Kamloops courthouse Sept. 10.
September 10, 2014 - 2:28 PM

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KAMLOOPS – Video evidence in the jail sex trial concluded Wednesday allowing a Kamloops Supreme Court Justice to see exactly what police officers saw that night in Kamloops city cells—and how officers reacted to it.

Cpl. Kenneth Peter "Rick" Brown, an RCMP watch commander, is accused of breaching trust in August of 2010 when he, among several others, watched two female prisoners have sex via video footage and did not intervene.

On Tuesday, the investigating officer, retired Cpl. Duncan Hewitt, walked the court through video footage he downloaded and compiled for the trial. Today the court heard Hewitt describe the arrival of both female inmates, their individual level of intoxication and specific sex acts each performed in the drunk-tank. Hewitt also reviewed the last video of the two women when they left the detachment around 11 a.m. Both were seen walking together “arm-in-arm” as Justice Selwyn Romilly described. 

Beyond footage of the women, Hewitt downloaded video content of officers reacting to what they just saw.

Both women cannot be named due to a court-ordered ban on identification. One of the women has died since the incident. Crown prosecutors are expecting to call a witness who will provide more information on the deceased. 

THE ARRIVAL

Hewitt described the arrival of the first woman on Tuesday afternoon. Her pants fell when she was escorted to cells by two officers and, upon entering the cell, was naked from the waist down. Due to her level of intoxication, she bypassed the prisoner-booking counter.

The second woman’s arrival was a bit different. She approached the counter, took off her jewellery and walked freely into the cell where she laid down next to the first woman.

Hewitt commented on the second woman’s footwear; she entered the cell wearing flip-flops.

“They should have been removed at the front counter,” Hewitt said.

Around 3:26 a.m. the cell door opened and a guard retrieved the shoes from the second prisoner. That was the last interaction between guards and prisoners before the activity within the cell became sexual.

Seven minutes after the second woman joined the first, the two began touching one another and each moved closer to one another as they lay on the floor.

“They appear in very close proximity to each other,” said Hewitt.

THE SEX

Around 4:04 a.m. the women began having sex. Both women removed their pants, began touching each other’s genitals and performed oral sex on one another.

As the video played, Hewitt did not make assumptions and only told the court where the women’s heads and hands were placed at various points in the footage — in the “crotch area.”

The intercourse concluded at 4:16 a.m. Two minutes afterward, both women stood and washed up in the cell’s sink before returning to the floor where crown prosecutor Jas Gahunia said “they (continued) to embrace.”

THE REACTION

Following evidence of cell activity, Gahunia played footage of the cell-block hallway and pointed out the specific doorway leading to the guardroom office which housed the monitor displaying a live video feed.

The entire video footage shows a total of seven men, including Brown, enter the doorway. Hewitt pointed out Const. Stephen Zaharia on the video marked at 4:11 a.m. (when the women were engaging in oral sex) and said he “appeared to be laughing before putting his head in his hands.”

A minute afterward, the video shows Brown leaving the guardroom and going upstairs to another office location when he quickly returns with another constable.

To understand if the men were watching the tape, Hewitt obtained two phone calls between the watch clerk and prison guard David Tompkins. Before playing the recordings, Brown’s lawyer Glen Orris told the court the calls are not admissible as evidence as there was no authorization to obtain the call and no content within them to use against Brown.

The first call at 4:04 a.m. was from Tompkins encouraging the watch clerk to come watch the footage. The second call at 5:22 a.m. was to provide a tally on prisoners. Tompkins told the clerk there were 17 prisoners and provided an update on the women. He said the two girls were “spooning together” and were “keeping each other warm.”

“They’re not fisting each other like before,” said Tompkins.

Zaharia, Tompkins and Const. Evan Elgee were all originally charged with the same breach of trust as Brown. Charges were dropped against Zaharia and Elgee. Tompkins pleaded guilty and received a one-year probationary sentence.

The last video shown to the court was of the women departing from the detachment. Hewitt, in his commentary, said one walked with a limp. Both held each other as they strolled away.

“They appear very close,” said Hewitt.

THE REQUEST

Before the second day of trial started, Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk spoke to Romilly regarding an application he made to obtain the video footage to share with the public. Petruk requested several scenes from the tapes, none of which included sexual activity.

Supt. Karen Delorey with the Kamloops RCMP presented her submissions following Petruk. She said releasing footage of cells and the layout to the general public could compromise privacy of the detachment and jeopardize police operations.

Romilly is expected to deliver a decision on the media request next week. Brown’s trial is estimated to last up to three weeks.

To contact a reporter for this story, email gbrothen@infotelnews.ca, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email mjones@infotelnews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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