Thursday, October 30, 2008

And another RCMP Officer caught drunk behind the wheel...but no worries; no charges have been laid

Who knew that drinking and driving was this popular among RCMP officers?

Only five days after an RCMP officer failed a breathalyzer test after being involved in a fatal collision in Tsawwassen, B.C., CTV has learned of another incident involving a Lower Mainland law enforcer and allegations of drinking and driving.

RCMP confirm a female New Westminster Police officer was involved in a crash involving alcohol.

The 47-year-old officer was driving an unmarked police van when she collided with two or more signs driving eastbound near the Westview exit in North Vancouver's Upper Levels Highway Oct. 17.

I bet the officer wasn't formally charged:

No charges have been laid, but the off-duty officer has promised to appear in court Dec. 17. She is facing impaired driving charges. Her name has not been released.

I told you so, and neither was her name released (yet). No favouritism of course; how can the common RCMP practice of refusing to charge one of their own (think Dziekanski) be favouritism?

Lots of confusion (moi inclu) on what is considered "being charged". Can anyone explain the phenomenon to me? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to understand now that the process of a successful conviction works like this:

step 1. arrest
step 2. charges (informal) laid by police/RCMP
step 3. formally charged by judge

But where in the process do the police/RCMP release names? From Wally Oppal I get the impression that this happens at step 3, after being formally charged by a judge:
B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal denies the RCMP officer involved in a fatal collision in Tsawwassen this past weekend is receiving favourable treatment.

Oppal points out no member of the public is ever named prior to the laying of a charge.
Informal charges (step 2) have been laid, that's why we know about the pending court case on January 15th, 2009. But then how do we explain the following four examples?
Step 2: example 1
Chilliwack drug war heats up
Curtis Wayne Vidal, 22, Chad Hansen, 21, and Martin Snowden, 22, face assault and weapons charges.

Step 2: example 2
RCMP have shut down a known drug house and arrested six people.

Police raided the 9th Avenue home and found a large quantity of cocaine and marijuana. Shannon Hernandez-Zuniga, 29, Sundown Bill Steiger, 32, Travis Starblanket, 20, Wesley Teal, 25, Chan Van Troung, 45, and Michael Bruce, 18, face a string of drug charges.

Step 2: example 3
Richmond - Off-Duty Officer Assaulted, Charges Laid
On December 9th, 2007, at approximately 2:20 am, an off-duty RCMP officer observed three intoxicated males harassing a female in the drive-thru line up at a Richmond Restaurant. The off-duty officer approached the males and told them to leave the female alone. [...] The three males immediately became verbally abusive towards the officer. [...] Richmond RCMP officers responded and all three males were arrested. [...] The off duty officer suffered minor injuries.

Charges have now been approved for the three males, they are scheduled to appear in Richmond Court on January 22nd and 24th, 2008. They are charged with Assault of a Police Officer and are identified as: Darcy BARBER, 21 yrs old, from Burnaby, Jeffrey FLUNEY, 26 yrs old, from Richmond, Christopher RUSSELL, 25 yrs old, from Surrey

Step 2:example 4
Nickelback front man faces impaired driving charge
Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger has been charged with impaired driving, after being stopped by the RCMP in Surrey last month. [...]Kroeger, who has a home in Abbotsford, is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 25, facing charges of impaired driving and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08. His lawyer says the singer should be treated as innocent until proven guilty.

In all four the examples a court case was scheduled but had not taken place yet (as far as I can tell), but the names had already been released. Is Wally Oppal lying or am I missing something?

- Getting it Right: RCMP officers enjoy drinking and driving 1
- CTV: RCMP officers enjoy drinking and driving 2
- Buckdog: RCMP officers don't get preferential treatment; we solely refuse to charge them
- Edmonton Sun:Wally Oppal's non-denial on RCMP's favouritism: but why does he have to be such a jerk about it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually the process is that a person is investigated (which may be as simple as a breathalyzer or as complicated as an undercover operation), if arrested they are given a court date to appear before a judge in relation to the charges that the police believe they should be charged under...BUT they are not officially charged...police recommend charges to Crown who then look at the evidence the police provide decide whether to go forward with the charges or clue when the official charges occur but I am assuming it is at the first court appearance when it is written into the court record. Th point is that police do not lay the charges they recommend the charges and forward a report to Crown...but until Crown receives a report they can't do anything...The police, Crown counsel and the judiciary are all separate and independent from eachother and are not subject to political interference....People need to stop getting mad at the AG for not doing enough...whats he gonna do about it?? Nothing! simply because he can not do anything more than complain like the rest of us. His complaining may have more weight then the average Joe but the final decision is not his. There we go, my rant for the day.

Post a Comment