RCMP Constable David Clarke Benefits from Police Sentencing Double-Standards

When an RCMP constable convicted of serious criminal offenses walks into court for his sentencing hearing he probably hums a pleasant tune, if only to himself.  Why? His sentencing hearing is arguably the very best day in an otherwise demoralizing and publicly humiliating process.  Just ask Monty Robinson.

But how can that convicted criminal RCMP constable be sad when it's practically guaranteed that he will serve no jail time and, at worst, will be slapped on the wrist and sent home on probation.

As if I'd written the sentence myself, BC Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Arnold-Bailey did not disappoint in the case of RCMP Constable David Clarke. She sentenced Constable Clarke, who was convicted of serious firearms offenses, to a pathetic 18 months probation and a conditional discharge.  Should he complete his probation without incident he will not have a criminal record.

One more time our so-called justice system holds a criminally convicted police officer to a lower standard of accountability than any ordinary civilian.  In any true justice system criminal cops would be held to a higher standard of accountability, but that's just not The Canadian Way.

Not only does this sentence bring the administration of justice into disrepute, Justice Arnold-Bailey's sentence of David Clarke defecates all over the very concept of justice.

There are one set of sentencing guidelines for criminal police officers and an entirely different set of sentencing guidelines for mere citizens.

RCMP Constable David Clarke ought to thank God for the police sentencing double-standard.  Were he a mere citizen like Bruce Montague his now "home address" would be a prison but because David Clarke wore a yellow stripe down his pant legs he completely avoids that misery.

Constable David Clarke had in his possession at the time of his arrest sealed evidence bags of drugs, confiscated bottles of alcohol, an FN FAL semi-automatic rifle, a Remington semi-automatic handgun, a non-functioning rifle, identification belonging to numerous people and 3,600 rounds of ammunition.  Constable Clarke faced very serious charges as a result, including:

Possession of firearm
91 (1) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm or a non-restricted firearm without being the holder of
(a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
(b) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.

Possession of firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized
92 (1) Subject to subsection (4), every person commits an offence who possesses a prohibited firearm, a restricted firearm or a non-restricted firearm knowing that the person is not the holder of
(a) a licence under which the person may possess it; and
(b) in the case of a prohibited firearm or a restricted firearm, a registration certificate for it.

These are very serious criminal offenses, or at least one would reasonably assume they are serious criminal offenses given the lengthy prison terms provided as punishment in the Criminal Code.

Punishment
91(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2)
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Punishment
92(3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable
(a) in the case of a first offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years;

Justice Arnold-Bailey utterly ignored the seriousness of these crimes even while she admitted Constable David Clarke made a conscious decision to continue possessing firearms illegally and to store them unsafely when he knew possessing those firearms was against the law.

That is the very definition of a criminal act under Section 92(1) which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, yet the judge let him off.

No mere citizen charged with firearms offences under Sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code of Canada would walk out of court subject only to probation.

That privilege is reserved, under Canada's unwritten police sentencing double-standards, for those individuals with a colored stripe down their legs.  In the case of Constable David Clarke that stripe was yellow.

“I am of the view that fostering his continued rehabilitation is the overarching sentencing principle to be considered here,” she said.

Do you think "fostering their continued rehabilitation" would apply to any mere citizen convicted of the same crimes?

Me neither.

 

 

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