Civil suit con­tin­ues

Cou­ple vows to con­tinue fight against re­gional po­lice

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY CAPE BRE­TON POST STAFF

While feel­ing vin­di­cated by a de­ci­sion of the Nova Sco­tia Po­lice Re­view Board, Stephanie Bon­ner said her bat­tle with Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Po­lice is far from over.

The re­view board con­cluded that Const. John Camp­bell was guilty on three counts of dis­cred­itable con­duct in his deal­ings with Bon­ner and fi­ancé Ed­ward O’Quinn. Com­plaints against two other of­fi­cers, Supt. Wal­ter Ruther­ford and Const. Don­ald Regi­nato, were dis­missed.

“The de­ci­sion is not to my to­tal sat­is­fac­tion but I do feel it rep­re­sents what I was try­ing to ar­gue,” said Bon­ner, who along with O’Quinn rep­re­sented them­selves in a week­long re­view board hear­ing in Sydney ear­lier this year.

Bon­ner said it has been a strug­gle to get to this point in try­ing to have to her com­plaints against re­gional po­lice dealt with since 2011.

“So much money has been spent by both sides. I be­came ill be­cause of this and it is very hard to keep go­ing for­ward be­cause we keep hit­ting bricks walls,” she said.

How­ever, Bon­ner and O’Quinn are con­tin­u­ing with their civil suit against the depart­ment and the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“I feel it is im­por­tant to fight for what you be­lieve is right. There is no turn­ing back now. We want to be com­pen­sated for what they did to our lives,” said Bon­ner.

She said the re­view board de­ci­sion only scratched the sur­face of the com­plaints the cou­ple have in­volv­ing po­lice but the civil suit will of­fer ad­di­tional de­tails not heard by the re­view board.

As noted in the re­view board de­ci­sion, some of the is­sues raised by the cou­ple were not ad­dressed be­cause the com­plaint had not been filed within a six-month time­frame.

In its de­ci­sion, the board said it was un­for­tu­nate that Bon­ner, of North Sydney, was not made aware of dead­line and urged po­lice forces across the prov­ince to en­sure any­one who has a com­plaint, is given all in­for­ma­tion on the process.

“This de­ci­sion has given us some sense of jus­tice but we will con­tinue on­ward,” said Bon­ner.

The com­plaints flow from a prop­erty dis­pute be­tween Bon­ner and former neigh­bours, Ralph and Elizabeth Camp­bell, the un­cle and aunt of Const. John Camp­bell.

The board ruled:

• Const. Camp­bell was guilty of dis­cred­itable con­duct by call­ing Bon­ner a “douche bag” or say­ing “you’re dead.”

• Camp­bell was also guilty of dis­cred­itable con­duct in com­ment­ing “they’re prob­a­bly out­side slash­ing my tires” af­ter a night court pro­ceed­ing in­volv­ing a peace bond ap­pli­ca­tion be­tween he and Bon­ner. The record­ing equip­ment in the court recorded the com­ment that was made af­ter Bon­ner left the court.

• Camp­bell was also guilty of dis­cred­itable con­duct by de­lib­er­atly mov­ing his ve­hi­cle in a con­fronta­tional man­ner to­wards O’Quinn.

Camp­bell was al­ready dis­ci­plined in­ter­nally for his con­duct with a let­ter of rep­ri­mand and an or­der to com­plete an ethics and ac­count­abil­ity course. He filed an ap­peal with the board of the dis­ci­pline and was de­nied.

In its de­ci­sion, the re­view board noted that while Camp­bell may be a com­pe­tent po­lice of­fi­cer, “his per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with Ralph and Elizabeth Camp­bell sig­nif­i­cantly fu­eled his at­ti­tude and coloured his ac­tions to­ward both Ms. Bon­ner and Mr. O’Quinn.”

The board found that Camp­bell should have re­moved him­self en­tirely from the is­sue.

The dis­pute was over a rightof-way on prop­erty Bon­ner pur­chased in 2011 on Crest­dale Drive in Sydney Forks.

Both sets of neigh­bours filed a series of com­plaints with po­lice against each other, rang­ing from speed­ing on the right-of-way to the re­moval of a road­side garbage box. The dis­pute pro­gressed from lawyer let­ters to peace bond ap­pli­ca­tions and even­tu­ally crim­i­nal charges of mis­chief and crim­i­nal ha­rass­ment on the part of Bon­ner and O’Quinn, of which they were ac­quit­ted af­ter a pro­vin­cial court trial.

Bon­ner and O’Quinn have since sold their home on Crest­dale Drive and the Camp­bells have in­stalled their own drive­way.

The board did not award costs in the case and all sides have un­til Aug. 11 to make sub­mis­sions on what penalty Camp­bell should re­ceive.

Bon­ner

O’Quinn

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