Const. Robert Kennedy, a 19-year Ottawa police veteran, pleaded guilty in January to insubordination and discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act. On Monday, he was ordered to forfeit 48 hours’ pay and undergo additional Charter of Rights and Freedoms training to deal with arrested or detained persons.
Kennedy arrived at a fire station in October 2012 to investigate a suspected impaired driver who he knew might have been involved in a hit and run. A criminal trial would later find former volunteer firefighter Trevor Clarke guilty of impaired driving causing bodily harm after he side-swiped a female cyclist while driving on McGee Side Road near Carp, leaving the injured woman at the side of the road.
Clarke was sentenced in June 2015 to 2 1/2 years in prison.
Clarke’s blood-alcohol level at the fire station was almost four times the legal limit, but since he was so drunk and because Kennedy didn’t take notes while interviewing him, the judge in Clarke’s criminal trial was left doubting whether Clarke actually knew he had hit someone. Clarke was acquitted of leaving the scene of a collision and of driving over the legal limit and causing bodily harm.
Justice David Paciocco tossed out Clarke’s statements to police and his breath samples because they were made after Clarke contacted a lawyer seeking counsel on misinformation.
The judge said Kennedy misled Clarke, who thought he was contacting a lawyer while only being suspected of impaired driving. Clarke had no clue he was being arrested for impaired driving causing bodily harm, the hearing was told.
Police also failed to advise him of his right to a lawyer and questioned him before he had a reasonable opportunity to consult a lawyer. Paciocco said the serious breaches by police “reflect either unacceptable ignorance of basic charter rights, or a reckless disregard for those rights.”
The Ottawa police professional standards section, given Paciocco’s harsh criticism, investigated Kennedy’s conduct and charged him with insubordination for failing to record a single note while interviewing Clarke and with discreditable conduct for lying while testifying why there was a delay in providing Clarke with his right to legal counsel.
Source: Ottawa Sun