Con­vic­tion could end RCMP of­fi­cer’s ca­reer, lawyer says

Cameron Lock­hart found guilty on one count of as­sault, ac­quit­ted of seven other charges

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY ROSIE MULLALEY TC ME­DIA COL­UMN The Tele­gram

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

ROSIE-MULLALEY/TC ME­DIA

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.

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