Con­sta­ble ad­mits to mak­ing er­rors but says he is­sued real tick­ets

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NI­COLE O’REILLY

A Hamil­ton po­lice of­fi­cer ac­cused of fal­si­fy­ing tick­ets ad­mit­ted to mak­ing er­rors in notes, but says the tick­ets he wrote were real.

Const. Steve Travale is among four of­fi­cers on trial col­lec­tively fac­ing 20 counts of fab­ri­cat­ing ev­i­dence and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

“I did make mis­takes,” he said. Later adding, with a shrug: “I was dis­or­ga­nized.”

Re­fer­ring to notes and com­puter logs, Travale said he wrote the wrong dates and wrong time on tick­ets. He also noted that his watch wasn’t synced with the po­lice sta­tion clocks, so there could be dis­crep­an­cies in time. He also some­times didn’t make notes.

On cross ex­am­i­na­tion, pros­e­cu­tor David King pep­pered Travale with ques­tions about his where­abouts around the time tick­ets were is­sued, with Travale some­times an­swer­ing “I don’t know.”

King ques­tioned why some­one with 13 years of polic­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, which Travale had at the time of the in­ci­dents, would not take bet­ter care with his notes.

The charged of­fi­cers were all mem­bers of AC­TION (Ad­dress­ing Crime Trends in Our Neigh­bour­hoods) in 2014. At that time the unit had 40 of­fi­cers who pri­mar­ily pa­trol the down­town on foot and on bi­cy­cles.

A large fo­cus of the AC­TION unit is is­su­ing pro­vin­cial of­fence no­tices for ev­ery­thing from rid­ing bikes on side­walks to pub­lic drunk­en­ness and tres­pass­ing. Court pre­vi­ously heard the unit was ex­pected to gen­er­ate 4,000 tick­ets a year.

“Bosses like tick­ets ... it’s a fact of my job,” Travale said.

Ac­cord­ing to job per­for­mance ap­praisal records, it was Travale’s goal to is­sue 100 tick­ets in 2014.

King asked whether it would be pos­si­ble for an AC­TION of­fi­cer to sit at the sta­tion, per­haps watch­ing CCTV cam­eras, and make up a ticket for a “reg­u­lar” with­out ever speak­ing with them.

“It’s pos­si­ble, but I didn’t do it,” Travale replied.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan Sept. 19, 2014, when some green copies of tick­ets — copies that were sup­posed to go to the of­fender — were dis­cov­ered in a bin for shred­ding.

Travale tes­ti­fied about the stress of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and fac­ing what he called “false al­le­ga­tions.” This in­cluded read­ing through text mes­sages sent be­tween him and other of­fi­cers about co-oper­at­ing with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and be­ing mad at the of­fi­cer, Trevor Holmes, who found the tick­ets.

The trial, which be­gan in Novem­ber, has al­ready heard from two of the ac­cused con­sta­bles Bhu­pesh Gu­lati and Shawn Smith.

Hamil­ton po­lice of­fi­cer Stephen Travale, for­mer AC­TION team mem­ber.

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