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One year probation, no criminal record for jail guard in 'jail sex scandal'

June 12, 2013 - 6:45 AM

The lone accused to plead guilty in Kamloops' jail sex scandal was sentenced to a conditional discharge today in B.C. Supreme Court.

David Tompkins, 49, pleaded guilty to breach of trust in May, six days into a preliminary inquiry for himself and multiple police officers accused of watching two inebriated women — one of which is self-declared HIV positive — engage in sexual acts in an RCMP holding cell without intervening.

Crown prosecutor Jas Gahunia outlined details of an investigation into that night, many of which have already been released in a separate investigation by The Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP.

The two women, whose names are protected by court order, came into police custody separately while inebriated on the night of August 18, 2010. They were placed in a holding cell together because of a busy night at the Seymour Street detachment, that meant cells over capacity.

The two women engaged in sexual acts while in the cell, both reporting after-the-fact to police that they couldn't remember what had happened that night.

"She repeatedly asked police what had happened," Gahunia said. "She told police she was going to vomit."

Gahunia and defence lawyer Julian Van Der Walle offered a partial joint submission for Tompkins' role in the incident.

Gahunia asked B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Masuhara for a conditional discharge consisting of probation and community service. She said Tompkins needs to return to the community what he has taken from it —'confidence' in the jail system. Gahunia said he was in the guardroom for the most explicit part of the women's encounter — about ten minutes including oral sex, digital vaginal penetration and 'fisting'.

Unlike the RCMP, Tompkins was not under common law or duty to intervene. However, Gahunia said he broke policy. While he completed his duty by reporting the incident to the watch commander on duty — Cpl. Kenneth Brown — an audio recording revealed him laughing it off.

"The general tone of his call is one of amusement, laughter and excitement," Gahunia said.

She added that Tompkins gabbed about the matter to two sheriffs who were uninvolved in the incident, a clear violation of prisoner privacy.

Gahunia said Tompkins also breached public trust by using surveillance equipment for use 'contrary to the public good.'

"Mr. Tompkins has a very high level of responsibility," Gahunia said.

"He was a public employee working in a public space," she said, adding he knew his job responsibilities.

However, Van Der Walle asked the judge to impose an absolute discharge, saying Tompkins needn't serve community service, as media scrutiny and financial stress from losing his job have been enough of a deterrent.

Tompkins has since worked as a labourer in the parks department for the city, but has taken a substantial pay decrease because the position is seasonal.

Van Der Walle said Tompkins was unaware one of the women had HIV at the time of the incident and that he is a 'good person' involved in the community and without a criminal record. He added that Tompkins was caught up in 'group humour' and had a 'momentary lapse of judgement.'

Masuhara, however, sided with the Crown.

"In my view, rehabilitation would be appropriate through a conditional discharge," he said.

He noted that Tompkins had no criminal record, is a family man with good references from community members, the impact this has already had on him and his cooperation in the investigation following the incident. He also acknowledged remorse by Tompkins.

"The guilty plea shows acceptance on his part," Mashuara said.

Tompkins was sentenced to 12 months probation with 60 hours of community work.

According to the defence, a discharge will allow Tompkins to potentially return to a position of trust with the City.

Brown and Const. Stephen Zaharia are expected to face trial by judge and jury in September 2014 in relation to this event.

To contact a reporter for this story, email:, call: (250) 319-7494 or tweet: @jess__wallace.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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