September 14, 2013 - 8:30 AM
"HE HAS LET THE MEMBERS OF THE KAMLOOPS POLICE FORCE DOWN, HE HAS LET... THE COMMUNITY DOWN."
KAMLOOPS - An RCMP member was ordered to pay a $1,250 fine and handed one day in jail after he was found guilty of fraud today in Kamloops provincial court.
Trent Wessner, 33, was found guilty of one count of fraud under $5,000 for an incident dating back to Aug. 25, 2010 that judge Ronald Caryer said was committed "out of a fit of anger."
The Crown's case stemmed from Wessner's former common-law wife Randi Love, also an RCMP officer. She said he confessed to defrauding Costco because he was angry about the delivery of an online purchase. She said Wessner told the company he never received two media towers, despite being delivered out front of their home. After complaining, Costco reimbursed him for the towers believing he had not received them.
The defence, however, said the woman was revengeful after their split in April 2011, fabricating the matter to get back at him.
Multiple witnesses testified during the four-day trial.
Caryer said in his decision today that the Crown witnesses were credible in the case.
Love's parents and friends testified they saw the towers in their home at a house-warming party the two hosted.
"I can find no hint of a motive to deliberately lie to the court," Caryer said of the witness testimony. "I find him guilty as charged."
Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman said appropriate sentencing could range from an absolute discharge to a period of incarceration.
"Sentencing of police officers is always a difficult thing," Hilderman said.
Defence lawyer Richard Hewson told the court that Wessner, who has been on an unpaid suspension with the RCMP, will likely lose his job permanently and has since been working as a conductor for the railway. He told the court any time away from his job would put his new job in jeopardy and asked the court to impose an absolute discharge or a fine — a financial penalty for a financial crime.
He said Wessner has no criminal record and has not repeated the fraud.
"It was a man who committed a crime in his private life," Hewson said.
Caryer called Wessner's crime 'silly' for what he has lost, 'all over $400 of furniture.'
"I do not believe that a discharge is appropriate in this case," he said. "He has let the members of the Kamloops police force down, he has let the citizens of the community down. I consider that to be absolutely tragic."
"The community needs that higher standard in officers of the law."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013