Conviction could end RCMP officer’s career, lawyer says
Cameron Lockhart found guilty on one count of assault, acquitted of seven other charges
Cameron Lockhart may have been convicted of only one out of eight counts, but it’s enough to ruin his career as an RCMP officer, according to his lawyer.
“For a police officer, one conviction is just as bad as eight,” defence lawyer Nick Avis told reporters at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s this past Wednesday after his client was found guilty of assaulting a woman.
“It will seriously impact his career or put an end to it.”
The jury of four men and eight women returned the verdict at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday after almost two days of deliberations.
Lockhart was found not guilty of three counts of assault, two counts of mischief by damaging property and single counts of assault causing bodily harm and uttering threats.
“I think ( the two- day deliberations) is a sign that the jury took their responsibility seriously,” Avis said.
“My own thought is that perhaps there was some disagreement there and my concern, in the back of my mind, is that perhaps this was a compromise, but jury knows that.”
The charges were laid in relation to alleged incidents against two women who each had a relationship with Lockhart between 2009 and 2011, when he was stationed at the Trinity- Conception RCMP detachment.
One woman testified during the trial that in separate only the incidents, Lockhart pushed her over a couch, smacked her in the face, causing her earring to cut her, pushed her into a kitchen countertop so hard that the counter was damaged and called her cellphone and said he would beat her if she didn’t call him back.
The other woman said Lockhart pushed her while in bed and, in another incident, while he was on her Facebook account, he hit her so hard he gave her a bloody nose and bruised her eye. She said he also smashed her cellphone. In one unusual incident, she said Lockhart demanded she give him the rings an ex- boyfriend had given to her. When she did, she said, he put them in his mouth, chewed them until they were flat, spat them out and threw them out the car window.
Lockhart adamantly denied the allegations. In his closing arguments, Avis told jurors that the women were part of a conspiracy to try to bring down a police officer.
In the end, the jury found there was only enough evidence to convict on the assault, in which he pushed the first woman over the couch.
“When a jury convicts on one of eight counts when credibility is such a significant issue, it’s usually a sign of what we call an unreasonable verdict,” Avis said. “I will be instructing my client to appeal, if he wishes to do so.”
A sentencing hearing has been set for Feb. 3.
Lockhart, who is not in custody, will remain free with the promise to continue to adhere to his release conditions.
When a jury convicts on one of eight counts when credibility is such a significant issue, it’s usually a sign of what we call an unreasonable verdict. Nick Avis
RCMP officer Cameron Lockhart was found guilty of one count of assaulting a woman this past Wednesday when the jury rendered its verdict at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.