Suspended Cape Breton police constable given conditional sentence

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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SYDNEY  — An 11-year member of the Cape Breton Regional Police force was sentenced Tuesday to complete a three-month conditional sentence having been previously been found guilty on charges of breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

Const. Ron Williams, 39, of High Street, was convicted last November after a Supreme Court trial.

The sentence allows Williams to serve his time in the community under strict conditions as opposed to a jail cell.

Among the conditions, Williams must be inside his residence at all times with exceptions for medical and legal appointments along with employment. He is also allowed out to attend church and for four hours once a week to attend to personal business.

In passing sentence Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Simon MacDonald described the officer's actions as dishonest and a marked departure from acceptable police conduct.

He said among the aggravating factors of the offence was that Williams was on duty at the time and that he lied to investigators and falsified reports.

MacDonald also noted factors that weighed in Williams favour including there was no personal gain for the officer, he had no prior record, he was a well regarded member of the force and the crime and subsequent media coverage resulted in a loss of reputation.

Although Williams has gained other employment, he is still listed as suspended with the Cape Breton municipal force.

A force spokesperson said an internal review of the case will now be conducted within the next 60 days to determine Williams' future with the force which could result in his termination, a further suspension or other penalty as decided by Chief Peter McIsaac.

Williams, a patrol officer, has been on an unpaid suspension from the force since August 2011.

The charges relate to an incident in May 2011 in which regional police received a complaint from a provincial liquor inspector concerning an impaired driver leaving the Royal Canadian Legion in Whitney Pier. Williams was instructed by his staff sergeant to investigate.

The judge concluded that Williams asked the on-duty jailer, Todd MacKay, to call the suspected driver and advise that police would be coming to his home and not to answer the door. The judge also ruled Williams changed an occurrence report dealing with the incident from a drinking and driving complaint to a general citizen assistance call.

The Crown argued Williams deliberately disobeyed an order from his staff sergeant, prepared a false occurrence report, asked MacKay to place the call to the suspect, and gave an inaccurate statement to investigators.

The defence contended Williams only asked MacKay for assistance in locating the suspect and that it was MacKay's decision to make the call. The defence also noted that earlier in the night, MacKay did make a call to another bar in the Pier warning them the liquor inspector was in the area.

The judge said after careful review of the evidence, he had serious concerns about the testimony of the officer, given there were major discrepancies between his trial evidence and the statement he gave to investigators prior to charges being filed.

MacKay is now scheduled to appear in Supreme Court  April 7-17, 2015, for a trial on two counts of obstruction and two counts of breach of trust.

Organizations: Supreme Court, Royal Canadian Legion

Geographic location: Cape Breton, High Street

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