Of­fi­cer suf­fers from PTSD tri­bunal told

Const. Wayne Sczepan­ski has pleaded guilty to charges of in­sub­or­di­na­tion and dis­cred­itable con­duct, not guilty to a sin­gle charge of de­ceit

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - HRivers@post­media.com HEATHER RIVERS

A tri­bunal held un­der the Po­lice Ser­vices Act for a Wood­stock po­lice of­fi­cer was un­ex­pected ly in­ter­rupted Tues­day morn­ing due to ill­ness.

Const. Wayne Sczepan­ski, who is cur­rently sus­pended with pay from the Wood­stock Po­lice Ser­vice, told his lawyer, Glen Don­ald, he was not feel­ing well and needed to go to Wood­stock Hospi­tal.

Sczepan­ski has pleaded guilty to charges of in­sub­or­di­na­tion and dis­cred­itable con­duct but not guilty to a sin­gle charge of de­ceit.

Details of what those charges re­late to have yet to be dis­closed.

Just prior to his de­par­ture Tues­day morn­ing, the 36-year veteran was an­swer­ing ques­tions from the Wood­stock ser­vice’s lawyer re­lat­ing to a time­line of Sczepan­ski’s med­i­cal treat­ment and per­ceived de­lays over an ex­pert med­i­cal re­port re­lated to the de­ceit charge.

Sczepan­ski, who once served a six-month tour with the United Na­tions Civil­ian Po­lice while posted in Yu­goslavia, said he was seek­ing treat­ment “to get bet­ter” and not just to get an ex­pert re­port.

“I have PTSD,” said Sczepan­ski, who had clearly be­come frus­trated by the line of ques­tion­ing. “That’s why po­lice of­fi­cers kill them­selves. I don’t want to be that po­lice of­fi­cer.”

The hear­ing was held to hear mo­tions re­lat­ing to Don­ald’s Fe­bru­ary ap­pli­ca­tion for “a rea­son­able ap­pre­hen­sion of bias” against re­tired su­per­in­ten­dent and hear­ing of­fi­cer Morris El­bers.

The ap­pli­ca­tion, which is a le­gal stan­dard for dis­qual­i­fy­ing judges or de­ci­sion mak­ers for bias, ba­si­cally calls for the hear­ing of­fi­cer to re­cuse him­self or step down.

Don­ald’s main ar­gu­ment for the ap­pli­ca­tion was a conference call that El­bers held last Fe­bru­ary that Don­ald said was con­ducted un­fairly.

He also cited a last-minute 19-page e-mail doc­u­ment from an in­ter­view with a po­ten­tial wit­ness he had re­ceived from the pros­e­cu­tor just hours be­fore the hear­ing.

El­bers also said 11th-hour e-mails with per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion were not un­usual in cases such as this one.

In Fe­bru­ary, Don­ald said they had come very close to an agreed state­ment of facts with pros­e­cu­tor Ian John­stone, but dif­fered in three para­graphs due to his client dis­agree­ing with what one wit­ness had said.

Ac­cord­ing to El­bers, Sczepan­ski made a first ap­pear­ance in March 2016, which was fol­lowed by sev­eral tele­con­fer­ences and meet­ings while wait­ing for a med­i­cal re­port.

Sczepan­ski be­gan his ca­reer with the RCMP in New­found­land and Labrador be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to On­tario in 1990, where he worked in drug en­force­ment and pro­ceeds of crime while serv­ing with the emer­gency re­sponse team.

In Yu­goslavia, he per­formed polic­ing du­ties and pro­vided hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to dis­placed cit­i­zens dur­ing the Bos­nian War.

In 1998, he re­tired from the RCMP and joined the Wood­stock Po­lice Ser­vice, where he per­formed sev­eral func­tions, in­clud­ing ca­nine of­fi­cer han­dler for Ger­man shep­herd po­lice dog Jeri­cho.

In 2012, Sczepan­ski re­ceived an award from the Gover­nor General of Canada for ex­em­plary ser­vice in polic­ing demon­strated through “good con­duct, in­dus­try and ef­fi­ciency.”

An up­date on Sczepan­ski’s con­di­tion is ex­pected Thurs­day.

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