Ontario Criminal

Breach of Trust by Public Official

Police officer committed breach of trust by submitting false accident reports

Trial of accused, who was suspended police officer, for 46 offences related to fraud, making false documents, breach of trust and obstruction of justice. Charges related to nine motor vehicle accident reports (MVAR) prepared by accused in 2010. MVARs resulted in insurers paying claims and incurring costs that totalled over $1 million. Accused joined police force in 1992 and prior to 2010 he never prepared MVAR without attending at scene. Accused did not attend at scene before he prepared MVARs that were subject of charges. He relied on information received from tow truck driver and from childhood friend. In seven cases he did not speak to any of drivers or passengers. In some cases MVAR indicated that traffic ticket was to be issued to at fault driver and these tickets were basis of obstruction charges. Crown claimed that accused was paid $6,000 per MVAR and accused understood that MVARs were for fake accidents and were to be used to defraud insurers. Accused claimed that he prepared MVARs as favours for friends and he believed accidents to be real and that information was accurate. At no time was he paid for MVAR. Accused convicted of all offences, with exception of four charges of attempting to obstruct justice, because no ticket showed up in system for accused never put them in basket to be processed. For each MVAR accused was charged with being party to offence by fraudulent means by obtaining funds in excess of $5,000. He made false document, knowing that it was false and he intended them to be acted upon. Accused further committed breach of trust by creating and submitting false MVAR. He prepared nine MVARs without attending scene or speaking to drivers and passengers. His notes were intentionally deceptive in that they indicated that he was on scene and that he dealt directly with drivers. Accused intentionally provided misleading information to dispatch and this resulted in unit history being inaccurate as to his location at time of purported accidents. At fault driver was charged in order to avoid detection by senior officers. He failed to submit tickets to be processed in court system to facilitate fraudulent scheme and to lessen risk of detection.

R. v. Watson (Feb. 13, 2015, Ont. S.C.J., Sproat J., File No. CR (P) 13-0097) 119 W.C.B. (2d) 594.

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