VERNON - A bitter dispute between neighbours is playing out publicly in Vernon after one man claims to have been set up by a retired policeman, who has since been fired from a civilian position with the Vernon detachment.
The case, which began with an alleged dog bite, was supposed to be heard in court, but the charges were dropped and now the two neighbours are instead battling in the media.
Stephen Truscott and Scott Rempel, the former officer in command at the Lake Country RCMP detachment, live side by side in a rural area of Vernon. In January 2015, Truscott says he was bitten by Rempel’s German Shepherd, which got through a fence onto his property.
Truscott says the bite wasn’t serious, but he ‘let loose’ on Rempel, telling him it could have been a child and that he needed to ‘do something about his dog.’ He says the conversation lasted a couple of minutes and ended with Rempel apologizing.
Rempel, on the other hand, tells it differently. In a written statement provided to iNFOnews.ca, he says the first thing he saw that morning was Truscott driving over the dog with his snowmobile, injuring her significantly, and circling around to come at her again. He says Truscott then threatened to kill the dog, and was later seen by his wife pacing on the porch with a rifle. Rempel says his wife heard Truscott work the action of the long gun.
Three days later, Truscott had four cop cars in his driveway and an officer telling him he was under arrest for cruelty to an animal, uttering threats, and possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose.
“It’s all fabricated. They made up all these lies so they wouldn’t have to get their dog put down for biting somebody,” Truscott says. “I didn’t run over the dog. I have never threatened him. It’s all trumped up lies.”
The case was set for trial, but according to Crown spokesperson Neil MacKenzie, the charges were dropped in a stay of proceedings Oct. 16. He says the prosecutor handling the case concluded there was not a substantial likelihood of conviction in the case, but wouldn’t go into details.
It could have something to do with a breach of Truscott’s personal information being held at the RCMP detachment.
In a letter dated Sept. 29, Truscott was notified his personal information was ‘accessed, viewed and copied’ and that a copy of the fingerprinting video was unaccounted for. Truscott launched a formal complaint and found out Rempel, who was working as the detachment’s detention facility manager at the time, was fired over the incident.
“Your allegation against Wesley Scott Remple has been investigated and as a result Mr. Remple’s employment with the RCMP/City of Vernon, and his security clearance have been terminated,” Superintendent Jim McNamara said in an Oct. 29 letter to Truscott.
Rempel says he had access to police synopsis reports as part of his job description, and admits looking at Truscott’s file. He denies taking any of the documents and says his actions at the detachment were "designed to protect myself, my family, other members of the detention center, and to assist the RCMP investigator."
Truscott maintains Rempel made up the story so he wouldn’t have to put his dog down, and looked at the police file to benefit his case in court. He wants to see Rempel charged for the privacy breach.
Meanwhile, Rempel alleges Truscott is criminally harassing him and says he and his wife are genuinely afraid of him.
The neighbours continue to live approximately 150 metres apart on their acreages.
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