OFFICER SUSPECTED TO HAVE IMPROPERLY USED POLICE COMPUTERS TO SPY ON HIS ACCUSER: CROWN
PENTICTON - A Penticton supreme court judge will have to decide if a Penticton RCMP officer is guilty of a second offence stemming from an assault almost six years ago.
In 2010, Cpl. Andre Turcotte was convicted of assaulting Ian Scott Campbell on Nov. 29, 2007 while he was off duty. He was given a 60-day conditional sentence and a year's probation and eventually returned to active duty. That matter is over.
But now Turcotte is on trial for perjury—lying under oath—during that trial. And it gets a little messier than that.
On Feb. 18, 2008, Campbell was booked at the detachment for unrelated matters, and Turcotte was logged as checking police records on him. At the trial, Turcotte said he was the watch commander that day and made those inquiries for professional reasons.
According to evidence from the Crown at the perjury trial—that wasn't true. Crown prosecutor Bill Hilderman said the officer wanted to find information on Campbell to help his lawyer defend him in court. Turcotte denied it.
Turcotte said he saw Campbell at the front desk but he refused to process the man. He told judge Bruce Butler he did not feel comfortable dealing with Campbell, who was the complainant in Turcotte's assault case. The corporal handed the task to two other officers. He admits he did not follow up to see if Campbell had been processed.
Hilderman also grilled Turcotte on why the officer conducted police record searches on Campbell when he was not required to do so. Turcotte said he wanted to check up on Campbell for professional reasons but the Crown said Turcotte wanted dirt on Campbell. He said he also did another record search for a 2005 Whistler case involving Campbell again for professional reasons.
"I investigated," Turcotte said. "That's why we are called investigators."
"You didn't think it would look bad doing these (computer) queries?" the Crown asked, considering the queries were on a prime witness in Turcotte's own assault trial. The officer said he did not. Hilderman also told the court Turcotte was given a code of conduct notice in 2009 for improper use of police computers.
Campbell told police officers he came in on Feb. 18, 2008 to get his fingerprints and photograph taken, but defence lawyer Jack Harris called Campbell an unreliable witness.
He said Campbell admitted to having trouble remembering dates. Campbell said he visited the Penticton RCMP detachment only once but records show he's been there up to five or more times.
Harris said Turcotte is not on trial for his use of police computers and the Crown needs corroborating evidence to prove someone committed perjury.
Hilderman said the Crown has proven without a doubt Campbell visited the detachment on Feb. 18, 2008.
Butler will render a verdict on Friday at 2 p.m. in Penticton Supreme Court.
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