“If you can’t trust a police officer, who can you trust?”
– Crown attorney Rick Miller
On August 12, 2018, Constable Anthony Sparks, a 13-year veteran of the Halifax Regional Police Department, stole money from a cab driver’s wallet during a traffic stop. Shortly afterward he was suspended with pay.
Unknown to the thieving Constable Sparks at the time, his crime was captured on the cab driver’s video camera inside the vehicle.
On August 22, 2018, Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team (SiRT) announced Cst. Anthony George Sparks was charged with one count of theft under $5,000 under Section 334(b) of the Criminal Code.
On October 28, 2018, Constable Sparks pleaded guilty to the charge. He resigned from the Halifax Regional Police prior to entering his guilty plea.
Brian Bailey, Constable Sparks’ defence attorney, claimed his client posed no further threat to society despite offering no explanation for the theft.
“How can you say this person doesn’t pose a risk to the community without knowing what the motivation was for the crime?” asked Crown counsel Rick Miller, who was determined to send the former cop to prison for six to nine months.
“This was a case of a police officer taking advantage of a person who was alone at night,” said Crown attorney Rick Miller. “The public has to be assured that they can trust any police officer they deal with. The nature of the offence cries out for a period of incarceration.”
Miller did not get his wish.
Judge Alana Murphy gave Anthony Sparks a nine-month conditional sentence, despite her harsh words for the disgraced former cop.
Stealing from a citizen is “an egregious breach of trust by a police officer against a member of the public he was sworn to serve and protect,” Murphy said.
“It brings the administration of criminal justice into disrepute. It can erode trust that people should be able to have in law enforcement officers. It has the potential to tarnish unfairly other police officers who go about their duties honestly but now have to deal with the taint of what was done by a colleague who acted dishonestly.”
Slapping him on the wrist doesn’t get the job done, Judge Murphy.
Crown attorney Rick Miller was right. There must be consequences for criminal cops who break trust with the people they are sworn to serve.
When judges slap police officers on the wrist, say “bad boy” and let them go, they condone the criminal actions by police.
Past History of Bad Acts
This isn’t the first time Constable Sparks faced sanctions from his own police force.
On June 4, 2010, Anthony Sparks was arrested after a domestic dispute in Cole Harbour.
On July 14, 2010, Halifax Regional Police Department announced Sparks would face an assault charge resulting from the dispute. He was assigned administrative duties while the charges were before the court.
On June 14, 2012, the assault charge against Halifax Regional Police Constable Anthony Sparks was dismissed.