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Welcome to the world of the double-standard when sentencing police for committing crimes that would send the rest of us mere citizens to prison. RCMP Sergeant Douglas Smith kept a handgun that was turned over to him for destruction by a citizen in 2004. By all accounts it was not registered to Sgt. Smith, and nobody knew he even had the unregistered handgun.
Why he kept it, of course, is not something he wants to answer, although he's more than willing to appeal his joke of a sentence on the grounds that his trial was somehow unfair.
RCMP Sergeant Douglas Smith is the former detachment commander in Lumsden, Saskatchewan. As the head of an RCMP detachment, surely the man knows right from wrong, doesn't he?
Well, it sure doesn't look that way from where I sit.
In 2004 RCMP Sgt. Smith took a handgun from a citizen, and instead of handing it in for destruction as he was apparently supposed to have done, he kept it for himself.
That really makes a person ask a few hard questions. Well, that is if they're willing to think critically about this breach of conduct and breach of trust by the head of an RCMP detachment!
So, to that end I've got a number of questions:
1. Why did he keep the handgun?
2. Did he think he needed a "throw-down" gun?
3. Did he just want to add to his own firearm collection for free?
4. Why is he fighting this case when all he received was a slap on the wrist for a sentence?
and, of course,
5. Why is the law written specifically to protect men like this?
The answers to the first four questions might never be answered satisfactorily, since an RCMP Sergeant willing to steal a handgun (what else do you call this?) will also likely be willing to lie about his motivations for that theft.
However, the answer to the last question is one for our federal legislators. They're the ones that wrote the stupid law in the first place.
The Criminal Code of Canada, as amended by the Firearms Act when it passed into law says the following:
Criminal Code – R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46 (Section 117.07)
117.07 (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, but subject to section 117.1, no public officer is guilty of an offence under this Act or the Firearms Act by reason only that the public officer
(f) fails to report the loss, theft or finding of any firearm, prohibited weapon, restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance that occurs in the course of the public officer’s duties or employment or the destruction of any such thing in the course of the public officer’s duties or employment; or
This section of the Criminal Code of Canada makes it quite clear that "no public officer", which would include RCMP Sgt. Smith, is guilty of breaking the law that would send any of the rest of us to prison for a nice long stay.
If that idea offends you as much as it offends me, then write your Member of Parliament and demand this section be removed from the Criminal Code of Canada.
There is absolutely no reason why our police men and women should be given carte blanche to violate the law like this.
There is every reason why these men and women should be held to an even higher standard of integrity than the rest of us. They have sworn oaths to uphold the law, not break it any time they darned well feel like it.
That being said, what disgusts me most about this case (other than the 9-month conditional sentence imposed in the first place) is that RCMP Sgt. Douglas Smith actually feels he is somehow getting a rough ride from our so-called justice system.
He feels his conviction should be turned into an acquittal because the Crown was forced to prove, at the defense counsel's request, that the RCMP's Douglas Hugh Smith was the same "Douglas Hugh Smith" who resided where the unregistered handgun was found improperly stored.
Trust a disgraced RCMP Sergeant to try and play the system like that.
But the appeal did go forward, and now Court of Queen's Bench Justice Catherine Dawson has chosen to reserve her decision in the case. Time will tell if Madame Dawson will uphold this conviction and it's pathetic sentence.
Nine months of "be a good boy"... Yeah, Sgt. Smith is really hard done by.
He gets to keep his job. He doesn't go to jail. He doesn't get slapped with a lifetime firearms prohibition.
He gets a slap on the wrist, where the average non-police "citizen" would suffer all three of those consequences.
Gotta love justice in Canada and the two-tiered sentencing plan... one for you and me, and a completely separate one for police.
To quote my friend Dr. Mike Ackermann:
Why the double standard? Why is the State so hell bent on excusing these behaviors when the perp is in uniform?
Can they not see that the public confidence in the police is severely eroded by this excess leniency afforded the cops far more than by the crime itself?
This confidence would be best restored by simply applying a single uniform standard of law to us all regardless of what clothes we wear.
Well said, Mike.