October 20, 2015 - 1:20 PM
KELOWNA - A Kelowna courtroom was packed with members of the RCMP in a show of support for a fellow cop who was found not guilty of assaulting a 61-year-old man during an early morning bar flush in 2014.
Const. Grant Jacobson pleaded not guilty to criminally assaulting John Patrick McCormick on the patio of Rose’s Pub in Kelowna at around 2 a.m. June 28, 2014. Surveillance video from the pub shows Jacobson take McCormick's drink away before putting him on the ground, striking him in the ribs with his fist three or four times until other officers arrived and McCormick is picked up and carried out of frame. The video had no audio.
Defence lawyer Norm Yates told Provincial judge Gregory Koturbash that Jacobson did what he had to do when he felt what he thought was McCormick’s hand touch his gun, and that had the authority and obligation to make the arrest. McCormick admits he was at the pub for 13 hours that day.
“Had Mr. Jacobson not interfered… Mr. McCormick would have effectively escaped into the interior of the building and the situation… would have become more intense than what ought to have happened had Mr. McCormick not resisted. Cont. Jacobson was entitled to make the arrest.”
Crown lawyer Kevin Fotty says Jacobson was not legally allowed to intervene until a member of the staff asked the man known to fellow patrons as “Irish”.
“It is the licencee who determines who can be there, not the police,” he said. “(Const. Jacobson) cannot make the determination that the accused should leave the property. The fact that Mr. McCormick had resisted is not relevant because he should never have been told he was being arrested in the first place.”
McCormick was called as a witness in the trial that started in May. He denies being overly intoxicated, despite being in the bar for 13 hours. Koturbash called McCormick “unreliable as a witness.”
He denied having a criminal record but was convicted of assault twice, arson and theft and said he doesn’t swear but a video shown in court showed him swearing numerous times.
“I find it incredible that he only had one drink every two or three hours,” Koturbash said of McCormick’s claim he only had five or six drinks.
Koturbash says he was however, impressed with Jacobson’s forthrightness while on the stand and found him to be a credible witness.
“Our system would break down if police were not allowed to use force when necessary,” he said before finding Jacobson not guilty of assault. “When most of us can walk away from trouble, a police officer must walk towards it.”
Although the video shows McCormicks’ hands are not near Jacobson’s gun when he was struck, Koturbash says it is only through the use of video that this is clear and that if it was Jacobson's intent to hurt McCormick he certainly could have. McCormick was never hospitalized.
“Life is not experienced in slow motion or freeze frame," Koturbash said. "The incident… took mere seconds… and the video cannot articulate the human experience. His blows were calculated so as to not cause serious damage.”
A Kelowna constable has been found not guilty of assaulting a 61-year-old barfly in 2014.Read the full story here: http://infotel.ca/newsitem/kelowna-cop-accused-of-assaulting-barfly-not-guilty/it24216
Posted by InfoNews Kelowna on Tuesday, October 20, 2015
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